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Unleash Success in 2024: Rebranding Pet Food for the Modern Consumer

The pet industry is thriving. With 66% of households in the US reporting at least one pet, that’s a whopping 89 million pet-loving people and potential customers for your pet products— or your competitors. In an industry where the products, claims, and marketing are so similar, it’s crucial to establish a distinguished brand that speaks the language of your target audience. 

First, let’s get reacquainted with the modern pet owner with five facts: 

  1. A recent study shows that 44% of pet owners between 18 and 25 are willing to spend more on specialized, biologically appropriate foods. Think Paleo for Pets! 
  2. Higher-income households constitute two-thirds of the category. These shoppers spend the most on vet visits and food but consider treating, toys, and activities as important to their pet’s quality of life. 
  3. Pet owners love to shop online. The pet category is one of the fastest-growing online retail sales in CPG, with growth expected to exceed 45% by 2025. 
  4. Specialty pet shoppers don’t trade down to value or traditional mass pet food brands. If their cat or dog seems satisfied and healthy on a particular diet, they remain brand loyalists. 
  5. From insurance to behavioral training and doggy daycare, many pet owners are dedicated to providing the best life possible for their pets. 

While this represents the average modern pet owner, refining who your target is within the broader audience will reveal new ways to connect with them through your brand. 

Current consumer trends suggest pet food brands need to reimagine the relationship people have with their pets. Pets are considered beloved friends, companions, and family members for life. This familial treatment is referred to as the “humanization of pets” by legacy brand leaders, however, there is a misunderstanding in that statement. The modern pet consumer embraces their pet’s unique personality and believes in treating their pet humanely, not necessarily human-like.  

Pet specialty and premium brands can do this by focusing on quality, ingredients, and benefits with an emotional connection to the pet owner. If your brand and packaging design misses the “why it matters” moment for consumers, you will likely be overlooked on the shelf.

Unleashing Success with a Rebrand 

As the category shifts to accommodate this new consumer mindset, a strategic rebrand that speaks to niche consumer needs, personalities, or desires can stay ahead of the curve and stand out from the crowd.  Exploring a niche approach to highlight your product’s purpose will set the stage for brand success. 

In 2023, Vital Essentials revamped their brand with all this in mind. As one of the earlier leaders in the raw pet food category, they had the opportunity to re-introduce themselves to a growing audience segment with a distinct position and continued unparalleled quality products. 

By promoting their “butcher cut quality,” Vital Essentials taps into the premium quality and approachable nature of the neighborhood butcher shop—but made for the benefit of your pets. The new look captures a straight-from-the-butcher-shop look and feel, focusing on textures like butcher paper, tile, and chalkboards across physical and digital applications. 

The momentum for the brand redesign only continues to build. In December, Vital Essentials received a 2023 Pet Business Industry Recognition Award in the Packaging Redesign category. Learn more about our approach to brand and packaging redesign.  

Golden Retriever Energy for Your Brand

We approach every rebrand with enthusiasm and open curiosity. Your product is made for pets, but your brand needs to speak to pet owners. As pet lovers and category shoppers, we bring our personal experiences to the conversation along with the research to create a dynamic brand that makes sense for your product. Interested in learning more? Submit a form here