If you are in the food industry you are lucky! Congratulations, you are amongst the few sectors slated to grow despite the slowdown caused by the covid19 pandemic. People are buying food and food items like never before!

Globally, packaged foods are more in demand, because of the promise of hygiene and longer shelf life (Source: https://wmich.edu/news/2020/03/58581).

Families are home, consuming almost 2 to 3 times more than their pre-lockdown rate. A recent IFIC survey states, “Respondents say they are snacking more (32%), washing fresh produce more often (30%) and thinking about food more than usual (27%)” in these COVID times.

But not all will flourish equally. The ones who know what to change and when to change and adapt quickly will move forward faster than those who don’t. Shopping patterns have changed, general trade (kirana) is booming, online is booming. On the other hand, buyers are consuming data in a whole new way and traditional channels of advertising are losing steam. In this context, your packaging has to work doubly hard!

Here are 5 things you can do, to ensure your packaging moves ahead:

1. Is your brand clearly visible on the packaging?

Sometimes we get carried away by all the things that digital tools offer, and we tend to over-complicate our logos. While all the effects look great on the screen, most of them get lost due to production and printing limitations, ultimately making your logo weak on the shelf. This especially holds true in a dimly-lit kirana store, where the buyer is a good 10-feet away or on an e-commerce site, where your product as seen by the buyer is only a couple of inches.

Kraft reverted to its original clarity after the marketeers saw the error of complexity in the redesigned logo

Kraft reverted to its original clarity after the marketeers saw the error of complexity in the redesigned logo

Tip 1: Keep the brand name bold. Stay clear off too many digital effects such as complicated gradients, shadows and bevels.

2. Do people know what you are selling?

Be it a big image or a big text, or colour, people should know exactly what it is that you are selling, in a glance. In this lockdown time, I was forced to buy another brand of cocoa powder due to unavailability. My regular brand is “unsweetened” powder, so it came as a rude shock when my dish turned out to be too sweet; this new brand I had purchased, had added sugar. They just lost a customer forever. Being absolutely upfront and clear about what your product is, helps build trust.

Tropicana went back to its previous design, when their loyal buyers complained that they were unable to differentiate variants clearly in the new design.

Tip 2: Mention the exact product name clearly on the pack.

3. Value over cost

People are ready to pay a little extra for better products, especially for food. Instead of competing on costs, your product must find a niche, solve a genuine problem. Then you can call out that benefit loudly on the pack! When you connect with buyers at a ‘problem-solving level’, they never leave your side.

Tip 3: Find a USP that resonates with the buyer and stick to it

4. Show of power

People trust a brand when they see more of its products on the shelf. If you have a range of products, ensure that there is enough similarity between them, so that one can recollect and find familiarity. It can be a constant colour or a big brand name or even a mascot!

The ‘sea of red’ approach by Colgate has made a great shelf impact

Tip 4: Find a unique feature for your brand and stick with it across all your packaging.

5. Stand out and then blend in

When you are just launching a new product, it might be wise to spend a little more time on being different - different in shape, format, form or design. Once you have grabbed eyeballs in the initial stage and garnered a sizeable following, you may switch to a more traditional format that will also help bring your costs down. But in the launch phase, think of the extra money you spend on a unique format, as marketing cost!

Tip 5: Don’t be scared to stand out, don’t blend in!

 

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About the author

Vrishali Kekre Deshmukh

Founder and Director at Therefore Design Pvt. Ltd., an award-winning, multidisciplinary agency in Pune, Vrishali has hand-on experience of managing diverse clients such as Godrej, Future Group, Baskin Robbins, Macleods Pharma and Abreeze Honey, among many others. She has delivered on the varied design requirements of large conglomerates as well as small and mid-sized businesses, and her forte lies in branding, packaging, exhibition design and publication.


A regular jury panellist at the MIT Institute of Design, Vrishali is also a part of a committee for developing the new curriculum for Bhartiya Vidyapeeth in the capacity of an industry expert. Vrishali has also been chosen to be on the Jury of Ukrainian Design: The Very Best of 2019.

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