Walmart’s New Pure Balance Pet Food Packaging
“Pets are people too.” At least that’s what recent research, including a report by PMMI Business Intelligence, seems to suggest. According to the report, many of the same trends driving human food packaging, such as sustainability and e-commerce, are also driving the development of pet food packaging. This “humanization” of pet food means consumers are looking for the same nutrition and freshness for their pets as they get from their own items in the basket.
Capitalizing on this trend, Walmart’s private label dog and cat food brand, Pure Balance, is made from natural ingredients and, depending on the variety, is free of fillers, artificial preservatives, additives, and other ingredients. flavorings or colorings, does not include soy. , corn, wheat or grain, and includes vitamins, minerals and other trace elements.
In 2020, global packaging design company Equator packaging redesigned to evolve the brand its look and feel to reflect the high quality of the products and to align it with higher level benchmarks. According to Equator creative director Aaron Funke, the team introduced a host of crisp, characterful photography, such as prominent animal photos to make the packaging more pet-centric and animal images. ingredients to signal food type, flavor and ingredients, putting products’ freshness and health benefits at the forefront.
“With a modern look and unified design architecture, the packaging features [dog] and gray [cat] color palettes, accentuated with bright pops of color to enable versioning and ease of navigation,” says Funke. “Description of key product benefits and attributes is a clear system of claims and benefits that helps consumers quickly select the right product for their pet.”
Between February and July 2021, Walmart rolled out a brand extension for Pure Balance, called PRO+, formulated to meet the needs of cats and dogs based on their specific size, life stage or health condition. There are four SKUs for cats, five for dogs.
For the extension, Walmart wanted packaging that would maintain the core integrity of the Pure Balance line, underscoring the brand’s focus on real ingredients and real value for consumers, while communicating the points of differentiation of PRO+. Elements retained from the existing Pure Balance packaging design include the use of black and gray, as well as the architecture of the pack.
“We postponed fundamental actions, such as font styles and photography styles, so that consumers could quickly link the new range to the positive brand associations belonging to Pure Balance, and it would reconnect with the unique selling point of Pure Balance is all about providing real food and real ingredients,” says Funke. “But we also wanted to give the new product line its own identity, drawing attention to the fact that these products offer compelling new nutritional benefits and target specific groups of canine/feline and dietary requirements.
“This sub-brand is benefit-driven, much like health and wellness crossover products for humans, such as vitamin-enriched water, are benefit-driven. For customers who have purchased these products for themselves, browsing these pet food varieties may seem somewhat familiar. With dog food varieties, for example, there are large breed, small breed, puppy, senior dog, and weight management formulas. So, for ease of navigation, we established corresponding colors based on the benefit of the food, rather than its taste profile, as had been done in Pure Balance. Also to differentiate it from the parent brand, the animal’s face is seen from the front rather than in profile, and the ingredients are depicted smaller and positioned to the side to draw more attention to the health benefits. This way, the elements work together to prioritize the benefits while giving the flavor profile less importance.
Since the release, a number of consumers have expressed their approval of the packaging via Walmart.com. Comments include, “I really like the packaging. It’s stylish and I love the colors,” “There’s lots of helpful information on the back of the package, including a chart on how to mix this dog food at certain percentages over time…. I thought it was very helpful of the manufacturer to put this on the packaging,” and “It’s well packaged and extremely fresh, not to mention the packaging is very professional and jumps out at you on the shelf. .
For her part, Liz Ramirez, Product Development at Walmart, commends the Equator team for the beautiful design. “This is such an important and growing category for our pet parents,” she says. “A way to make a difference!”