As we continue to explore the pet care space through our Pet Care Pod, this week in Episode 3 we focus on labeling fatigue and confusion in pet food. Clean, natural, organic? How do consumers make sense of these terms and what helps them determine if a brand or variety is the right choice for their pet?
Erica Ruyle, SVP of Qualitative Insights at Maru/Matchbox, joined me once again to share her behavioral science insights, as well as her insights from the recent qualitative research conducted on this topic.
We discuss labeling fatigue at a high level, and then dig into specific terms and phrases that are confusing for cat owners, dog owners, and parents of every animal in-between. One of the challenges consumers face is that the labeling on the front of the bag does not always translate directly to the ingredients list. Some consumers know how to connect the two and some do not.
Brand trust also plays a huge role in how consumers perceive different labels, so we’ll touch on some of the challenges mass brands experience when trying to reach consumers through label messaging.
We’ll also address the universality of this experience; even though the reasons might vary by consumer group, most pet owners seem to agree that label fatigue is real for them.
The pet industry has a long way to go to build strong trust and effective communication with consumers. Just take the “grain free” dog food trend as evidence; what was once considered the gold standard has now turned out to be a much more complex and risk-laden feeding approach than previously thought.
Tune in next time to hear about impulse and splurge spending on pets, and how innovation is opening up new spending categories for pet lovers.