Pet food companies are being forced to respond to consumer backlash over their pet food prices and some are scrambling to offer pet food that doesn’t come in a box.
Pet food prices have soared over the past few years, and many consumers are upset by the high prices of a wide range of pet foods.
The Australian Pet Food Association (APFA) is lobbying the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to impose a nationwide ban on pet food companies from using ‘pet food packaging’ to label the pet food.
The APFA is calling for an “urgent ban” on pet foods that contain pet ingredients, as well as a ban on “all packaging” that does not have a label to identify what ingredients are in the pet foods, such as pet food bowls, pet food containers, pet bowls, and pet food bags.
Petfood industry insiders say the APFA’s move is the first step in the APFC’s investigation into the “food packaging loophole” that has allowed pet food manufacturers to market their products without a label.
Pet owners and pet owners’ groups are also calling for tougher regulation of pet food suppliers, such that companies must obtain consumer approval before making their products available.
The food industry is also worried that the APFAs move will undermine the industry’s reputation.
“Pet food is a staple of our lives, it’s one of the key foods that people love to eat and this new requirement will undermine that,” said the head of the Australian Pet Foods Association (APPFA), Julie Meech, who is also APFA president.
“What it does is it puts more pressure on the industry to put up a better product.”
Ms Mee, who has been leading the APFFA’s lobbying campaign, said the move is about ensuring that consumers have access to quality pet food without a “pet food box” to hold their pet’s food.
“We’re not going to be able to go out and buy a box of pet bowls and pet bowls for every pet we have,” she said.
“The industry needs to be better about communicating what it’s offering, and what we can do to help pet owners with their pet diets.”
Pet food manufacturers are also worried the APFTAs move could undermine the reputation of the industry.
“There are a number of pet owners who do have a pet and are very concerned about pet food,” said Ms Moech.
“They think that it is a marketing opportunity to sell their pet foods.”
The APFTA has said it will not support the APC ban on ‘pet box’ packaging. “
A lot of pet parents will not be able afford pet food boxes.”
The APFTA has said it will not support the APC ban on ‘pet box’ packaging.
Ms Mooch said the APFSA’s position was that the industry should work to develop a “reasonable solution” to the pet nutrition question, and that companies should be held to account for the packaging of their pet products.
“I would urge all of us in the industry, from pet food makers to pet food processors to pet nutrition companies, to find a reasonable solution to this issue,” Ms Muech said.
She said the industry was looking for a “meaningful solution”.
“I think the whole pet food industry needs a reasonable approach to this,” Ms Dye said.
The ABC has contacted the ACCC for comment.