Product packaging has an incredible impact on our daily lives. Our perceptions of products and the decisions to purchase them are influenced from the structural design to the graphic design used to communicate a compelling story about the product inside. Having spent over 30 years in the packaging industry, we love finding new and different packaging ideas that break the mold and deliver something new, maybe even chancy. Every other week we’ll be examining packaging that catches our eye and sharing our insights with you.
This week’s packaged FINDINGS: The New Primal
Much is being made of the trend for transparency within the food industry and packaging in general as a means for healthier more holistic living. It isn’t anything revolutionary; it’s simply informing consumers of exactly what is in the food they are purchasing, both fresh and packaged goods. This transparency is motivated by the best of intentions: by being aware of what we are eating, we will strive to eat nutritionally sound food. This in turn will make us feel better and be healthier. Makes sense. And while this logic is sound, it doesn’t change the fact that based on the pace of modern living, purchasing and making your own fresh food is difficult to manage.
One product new to our local market has taken on this challenge.
EPIC Bites was developed based on the Paleo diet, a diet focused on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and foods that are free from genetic modification, over processing and chemical extenders. In short, better living through wholesome, clean food – a concept I have long supported. In the February 4 article Consumer Survey Shows Changing Definition of Food Safety found in Food Safety News, the author cites the following statistics:
Consumers’ definition of food safety is following established trends in some regards, with two-thirds of the survey participants, 62 percent, saying they expect their food to be “free from harmful elements.” But other food safety concerns such as traceability are gaining ground according to survey participants:
- 51% want “clear and accurate” labeling
- 47% want clear information on ingredients and sourcing
- 42% want fewer overall ingredients, no “artificial” ingredients and less processing
- 41% want to know the nutritional content of foods
I am one of “those” consumers who actually read the content copy of food packages, and I very consciously select what I place in my grocery cart. I prefer fresh, organic or kosher foods to make sure I am putting the best possible food in the bodies of my family. But that doesn’t mean I don’t buy packaged processed foods.
With EPIC Bites, I was taken with the clean package and its healthy contents. The package stood out because of its simple, direct communication — it’s as uncluttered and free of contamination as the product. I was engaged by the simple communication hierarchy:
- The brand “EPIC”
- The product visual — a classic visual of a plump chicken accompanied by the simple statement “chicken meat”
- The seasoning/flavoring for the product
A simple side banner with the communication of “handcrafted, gluten-free, soy free” completes the messaging. Simply classic design based on significant use of white space, which serves to set the brand and product communication apart from anything surrounding it. If I found one thing that was not effective about the package, it was the lack of clean communication that this was a jerky bite. I didn’t know if this was sausage or slices of chicken meat until I turned the package over to see that this was actually a jerky or dried meat product.
This leads me to address the back panel concept in package design. This area has long been treated as the badlands of the package – an area where anything and everything can be crammed into any space you can find. Navigating through the rugged terrain can be a challenge, not only because of the volume of copy, but because the copy is usually so small you need a microscope to read it. This wasn’t the case on the EPIC package. The back panel is filled with important content that is totally legible, organized in a clear, clean straightforward manner that contains the appropriate nutritional information, and, best of all, provides a clear window to the product inside.
It is not often that I want to find out more about a product based simply from what I see on shelf. But, this was one of those products. My first impulse was to see if there was more of it available anywhere – so I defaulted to my Amazon lifeline. I found that the package was part of a well-designed packaging system, defined by a consistent brand hierarchy and the strong use of classic visuals of the product category. For the beef product, an image of a large steer adorns the package; on the pork product, a very healthy-looking pig. Likewise for lamb, turkey and bison products. There is a delightful menagerie of animals and product varieties that I am eager to taste my way through.
Jerky is a very hot product category, and I am sure we will be seeing new and innovative products and packaging reaching the marketplace on a regular basis. It is so refreshing to see this type of meat product being marketed to the health-conscious consumer as opposed to the “overly manly” type casting that has been the norm. From my viewpoint, the competition has a long way to go to improve on what EPIC has delivered in its packaging.
We invite you to share your thoughts on this or other packaging you’ve come across. If you’d like us to comment on packaging that’s caught your eye, send us an image at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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