Eat with your eyes

21 November 2016

Eat with your eyes

Eat with your eyes

For all of the meal plans, budgeting and anti-food-waste leanings that studies show influence today’s consumers, at least 88% of food purchases are made on impulse, meaning that on-shelf appeal has as much to do with a food’s packaging as the goodies inside. Emma-Jane Batey speaks to leading brands and start-ups including Copperpot, Boostball and Organix to understand why getting the right package for their product is a tasty prospect.

A key market driver in the food sector is honesty. Consumers respond positively to authentic messages of ingredient sourcing and ethical products that are as kind to the local community as they are focused on deliciousness. Making the right packaging choices for food products allows a brand to speak to the consumer to influence their perception, sharing these appealing messages right away from the supermarket shelf.

 Classic and contemporary

For leading UK confectionery brand Copperpot, its heritage as a Cornish manufacturer of luxury fudge is a driving force, and the company was adamant that this should be clear in its packaging. With its fudge exported all over the world as well as sold across UK supermarkets, Copperpot's 'handmade values' were behind the brief given to Graphic Packaging International for its innovative 'petal carton' for the Copperpot Originals fudge brand.

“We wanted a design that reflected the product's superior quality, and the company’s traditional methods and deep-rooted heritage,” says Copperpot's marketing manager, Laura Hicks. “The main design element of the brand is the quality seal device and the band that wraps around the carton. The seal is used as a symbol of distinction and emphasises the product's authenticity by blending classic heritage with a contemporary design. The band also acts as a highly effective colour-coding system to differentiate between each product across the Copperpot range when it's on display.”

The Copperpot Originals brand is also keen to maintain its 'premium aesthetic', so a foil blocked logo is used as well as a copper-coloured sticker on the top of the carton.

Hicks continues, “When removed at the opening, the copper sticker, which – of course – reflects our name, reinforces the feeling of receiving something very special. We also use high-end photography for our packaging images to ensure that we maintain the look and feel of the packaging across the whole range and deliver maximum impact with minimal clutter. The combination of all these elements creates an eye-catching design with powerful shelf appeal.”

Copperpot Originals asked Graphic Packaging International's UK branch to create its petal carton as one of its two new cartonboard containers, with its brief focused on 'reflecting traditional values whilst incorporating a modern, stylish flair'. Graphic Packaging International, a US-headquartered Fortune 1000 global design-lead packaging corporation, has 11 sites across Europe and is focused on developing and producing printed cartons for the food and beverage industries.

“We designed a skillet-style carton to reflect the homemade values of the brand, using Incada Excel 450 micron board with a standard ink set,” Nikki Clarke, marketing manager for Global's UK operation, explains. “This was coupled with satin varnish and spot UV for a luxurious touch. Our design team also created a petal-top-style gift carton with tab-lock closure for ease of packing and product security. Our flair for design innovation makes this product the perfect blend of nostalgia and contemporary design.”


Protect and promote

At the other end of the 'heritage' trend, we are seeing authentic start-up food brands bounding into the market. The ever-growing appeal of high-protein healthy snacking on the go is as welcomed by fitness fans as it is office workers and busy mums. This is where Boostball grabs hold of its target consumers. Launched in early 2016 by foodie entrepreneur and sports nutritionalist Steve Bessant, and hid friend Dave Chambers, Boostballs are “round wonders that are high in protein and a great source of fibre”.

“Our delicious Boostballs come in packs of three and are perfect for nutrition-conscious people looking for a high-protein snack,” says Steve Bessant. “Even though we're not even one year old, we're already being stocked with a few national wholesalers and health stores. We're also incredibly proud to be going on board Virgin Airlines.”

The Boostball packaging is integral to its swift ascent, with the shelf-stable element a major focus.

“That's why packaging is so important,” says Bessant. “Our product has to be shelf-stable for it to be viable; consumers need to be able to throw a pack straight in their sports bag, handbag or lunchbox, and retailers mustn't have to refrigerate it. We already had strong ideas about how the packaging needed to look, so these two elements were very important to our development. It can cost a fortune to work with a London-based design agency, so we researched local agencies that could deliver what we wanted.”

The result is eye-catching, appealing and totally true to the Boostball ethos: healthy, natural and sustainable. The company worked with manufacturer Ultimate Packaging, with digital printing used to keep flexibility and speed.

“Speed and quality is important too; as we quickly find new markets, we might need different languages or on-pack information. It's also very efficient for volumes, as there are no crazy overruns or short lead times. We've kept the environmentally friendly element of our product true to the packaging, too; it's not full of plastic and foils but, of course, shelf-stability and freshness comes first. It's always a balance.”

Ultimate Packaging is a Grimsby-based specialist in printed flexible packaging and has invested heavily over the past decade to ensure that it “pushes the boundaries of high-definition, flexo print technology”. Its roster of state-of-the-art print machines and associated equipment includes the X-Rite Colour SpectroEYE colour-management system and two new Bobst F&K 20SIX flexo presses.

“We have 15 years’ experience in the manufacture of printed flexible packaging, and we are regarded as an innovative and responsive supplier,” says Chris Tonge, Ultimate Packaging's sales and marketing director. “The dramatic changes in our factory and our massive investment in flexo print is a step toward futureproofing our flexo business. As a truly independent company, we are experiencing a time of significant growth and development. We are a leader in high-definition flexo print technology, and we have made consistent and smart investments in our dedicated digital team in order to satisfy fresh-thinking customers such as Boostball.”



Something completely different

For established food brands, relaunching legacy products and launching new products is imperative to continued success in a squeezed market. For Organix, the UK's leading brand of children's finger food and snacks, a clever plan to introduce an entire new category has already proved popular. With its new Punk'd range, Organix brings the ‘healthy snacks’ philosophy to older children. While the lunchbox aisle is booming, parents often have to choose between healthy and appealing; Organix believes its Punk'd bars tick all the right boxes.

“Mums and dads tell us there can be conflict with older children when it comes to snacks,” Anna Rosier, Organix MD, tells Packaging Today. “Limited choice means it's either fun, colourful snacks that appeal to children but are full of junk, or good snacks that children think are healthy and dull, so they just won’t eat them.”

Organix aims to build the first successful cross-category snack brand for kids, so its Punk'd bars are packed with recognisable ingredients and come with the Organix ‘No junk' promise. The Punk'd packaging has been formulated to reflect this; designed by FutureBrand, the bright, 'graffiti-style' packaging is great for lunchboxes.

With a fast-paced food market bringing more exciting, tasty treats to consumers, packaging must be an extension of a brand, be it old, new or something totally different.


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