Pet food labels need to contain certain crucial information, while also appealing to pet owners looking to make informed decisions about the product they’ll be feeding to their furry friends. Here’s a breakdown of what makes an appealing and informative pet food label.
Anyone who has walked the aisles of their local pet store recently is aware that pet owners have plenty of options when it comes to the food they choose for their dog, cat, fish, or other pets at home. So how can you communicate the unique brand qualities and nutritional benefits your product offers in a way that’s eye-catching and effective? Better yet, what’s actually required on a feed label? Find out what factors you should consider when designing a pet food label.Keep reading to find out what you should consider when designing a pet food label.
Generally speaking, pet food label requirements state the manufacturer must include the following information:
- Guaranteed Analysis: For pet food labels, guaranteed analysis is the section on your packaging that lists the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat. It should note the maximum percentage of crude fiber and moisture in the product. These values are determined pre-cooked, so nutritional content in the finished product may differ slightly.
- Ingredient List: As the name suggests, this highlights ingredients in the product, listed in descending order by weight. It’s important to look for high-quality protein sources like meat, poultry, or fish as the first few ingredients, as they are the main source of nutrition for your pet.
- Feeding Guidelines: Every pet food label should provide recommendations on how much product to feed your pet based on their weight, activity level, or age. It’s critical to be diligent and to follow these guidelines closely, as overfeeding or underfeeding your pet can lead to health problems.
- Nutritional Adequacy Statement: In addition to feeding guidelines, every pet food label must have a nutritional adequacy statement. Essentially, this declares which feed is best for your pet based on their specific life stages. As an example, if you see “for growth” this means that specific food type is the most beneficial for younger animals. However, it’s important to note before including information on a pet food label, manufacturers need to confirm they meet the minimum nutritional requirements for that specific life stage, set forth by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
- Calorie Content: If you were asked to think of nutritional details on food packaging, the little white box showing calorie content would likely be at the top of your mind. Calorie requirements aren’t exclusive to human food, though. Pet feed also needs to list the number of calories per serving. If you’re struggling to manage your pet’s weight, or if they have specific caloric needs due to health issues, this is helpful information to know.
- AAFCO Statement: In addition to the nutritional adequacy statement, every pet food label must include an AAFCO statement as well. Basically, this certifies the product has been formulated to meet the AAFCO’s nutritional standards, or has already undergone feeding trials and deemed to be nutritionally adequate.
While most packaging includes the above items, don’t let that be the end of your search for understanding pet food label requirements. Depending on specific regulations, it’s possible information regarding product sourcing, production methods, and certifications—such as organic or non-GMO—need to be included as well.
For animal feed manufacturers, it’s essential to account for all of this information on your pet food labels. If you don’t, you may face legal consequences from the FDA or AAFCO. The severity of these consequences vary, from warning letters and fines to a complete product recall. That’s why working with a label manufacturer who has a rich history in pet products is essential, as they already know exactly what your packaging needs to stay compliant.
You may also want to include feeding instructions, sourcing information, or details about your company’s process for making its products. The experts at U.S. Tape & Label are experienced in crafting solutions for unique problems; for example, the need to fit a large amount of regulatory information on a small label. Extended text booklets or extended labels allow you to include all of the necessary information without sacrificing too much real estate on your label.
When creating your pet food label, there are some unique factors to consider. First, design the layout with bag size and placement in mind. Many pet bags come in larger sizes – what part of the bag will be most visible to the customer at eye level on the shelf? You may also want to consider incorporating elements that make your product easier to use for customers. For example, how will they carry and pour the food from the bag or can? Lastly, consider options like windows through which the consumer can view the food and get a sense of the size and consistency.
Don’t forget to consider the material of the bag itself and how that will affect the label’s appearance. Many pet food bags contain a barrier to seal in flavor and freshness and provide a longer shelf life. This may cause your label to appear shiny.
Lastly, consider the design and branding elements you’ll utilize to attract your customers. Make sure the fonts, colors, and photography align with your brand’s values and aesthetic. If your product is part of a line of related products, consider how the design of each fits together. Because of the amount of information you’ll likely be including on your label, be careful not to create a label that is cluttered or difficult to read.
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Centrally-located and equipped with the cutting-edge equipment you need to get the best labels and look for your products. Our skilled team of in-house engineers will help you make the perfect label for any product you have.