How will stronger label activism affect the pet supplies industry?

The pet supplies industry is big business in the United States. A recent estimate shows that 2011 domestic sales of pet products was valued at more than $50 billion.

That level of expenditure is understandable, given that there are over 78 million owned dogs and over 86 million owned cats in the United States. We love and cherish our animal companions. In fact, some social critics have reported a growing trend of anthropomorphism, treating pets as people (or as substitutes for children). A survey recently summarized in USA Today finds that 81 percent of pet owners consider their animals to be full members of the family, and “[m]ore than half say they talk about pets more than politics or sex.”

Manufacturers of pet supplies should take notice of this trend. While it makes the industry more resilient over the long term, anthropomorphism may put special pressure on the pet supplies industry in the near future. Just as Americans have become particularly aware of labeling requirements for human food and consumer products, there is an emerging tendency to put labeling for pet supplies and products under special scrutiny.

Pet foods, of course, already have rigorous requirements for nutritional labeling under state and federal laws. Similar burdens are now being applied to other products. Those requirements are surprisingly detailed and complex. The American Pet Products Association provides a summary of current laws and regulatory agencies, and the list is daunting.

The pressure will only tighten

Consider the combination of consumer activism and the trend to see pets as family members, and you can easily anticipate that labeling requirements for pet foods will become more stringent over time. Just as potentially toxic pet products labels must now have warning , we can foresee a time when even containers and packaging for pet medicines, sanitary and grooming supplies, and foods must be certified nontoxic and “pet-proof.” As an added challenge, industry competition is likely to tighten too, so you want your branding to stand out among all the products on the retailers’ shelves.

How will you respond?

If you’re in the pet products industry, you need to make a strategic assessment today of your labeling requirements for the future, and select a company that has a proven record of adapting quickly when the regulatory requirement changes.

In short, MRI Flexible Packaging should be your first phone call. Contact our knowledgeable staff toll free at 1-800-448-8183 or e-mail us at

Contact MRI

122 Penns Trail
Newtown, PA 18940
Phone: 800-448-8183

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