It’s always exciting to see a new project come to fruition. I was thrilled to see plant-based dog food start-up, The Pack, featured in all kinds of publications, from The Grocer and Food Manufacture to Vegconomist and Plant-Based News. Even The Sun put its own unique spin on the product. So, what’s different about The Pack?
The Pack is plant-based dog food. It’s nutritionally balanced, planet-friendly, sustainably packaged and made by a company that is on a mission to create happy, healthy dogs while doing their bit to keep the planet healthy “for your puppies, and your puppies’ puppies”.
Plant-based alternatives that are tasty and healthy
The Pack launched with plant-based alternatives to beef, chicken and fish, offering owners a tasty and healthy, protein-rich alternative for their dogs. No-Moo Ragu, No-Cluck Casserole and No-Fishy Dishy are rich in iron and fibre made with a range of vegetables, pulses, seeds, superfoods, all tested with food technologists and nutritionists.
The Pack – transforming pet health
Above all else, The Pack are setting out to transform pet health. They also want to help reduce the impact that pet food has on the planet. A growing body of research highlights the fact that conventional pet foods aren’t necessarily good for pets or the planet. Pet foods containing animal by-products are typically low-value when it comes to nutrition and high-impact in terms of the resources used. The Pack offers the highest protein content of any plant-based wet pet food – 10g of protein per 100g – while using ingredients that are considerably less intensive to produce.
Sustainable product, sustainable packaging
The Pack were keen to augment their product’s sustainability credentials with sustainable packaging. As a brand with a mission to change the pet food market, they also wanted to stand out. Not only did the primary packaging (what the food is contained in) need to have impact, they recognised the opportunity for secondary packaging to differentiate their brand too. This was especially important when considering that direct-to-consumer was likely to be a key channel at launch.
Zero to landfill
We agreed that the best approach to packaging was that no packaging should go to landfill. All The Pack’s packaging recycles as metal or paper, the two materials with the highest recycling rates in the UK.
When packaging wet pet food, it’s essential to consider the production line. There are three main options available as the food is cooked in the packaging (retortable). Flexible pouches made from a combination of plastic and foil layers can be recycled, but the reality is that they would need to be cleaned of food residue and would not be widely recycled. Flexible, retortable cartons aren’t commonly recycled in the UK yet, and many would end up at landfill. Ultimately, we chose metal because it’s widely recyclable curbside. A genuinely circular material that will likely live on as a bus or a plane or even a humble can, again and again.
Sustainable transport packaging
The Pack’s distinctive secondary packaging is made from paper and is recyclable as paper. The unique triangular multipack used to ship a three-can order was inspired by the team’s understanding of its journey through the supply chain. If cans are damaged, there is a greater tendency for the consumer to discard the food, increasing waste, the carbon footprint of which will far outweigh that of any additional packaging. The Pentagram-designed packaging is not only beautiful, enticing and impactful, but it also has ‘crumple zones’ that mitigate against the cans being damaged.
Even the mechanism for protecting against tampering is made from paper rather than the typical sticker, which would have a silicon backing paper and, therefore, not be recyclable. All the materials used come from FSC sources, and the corrugated material is made from 70% recycled content.
Doing the right thing
A staggering 12.5m – or 33% – of UK households have a dog. Not only that, but 11% of UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. 25% of the greenhouse gases produced by food come from what we feed our pets. The need to address the well-being of pets as well as that of the planet is only going to increase. It’s exciting to be helping The Pack with its mission.