7 Tasty Tips for your Food Packaging Design

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Derrick Lin


Written by Mark Chapman, the Sales Manager for UK based custom and bespoke packaging specialists, Project Packaging.

Enticing new customers to purchase your delicious food product is easy if they can “try before they buy”. But if consumers cannot taste your food or beverage first, how else can you get customers to try out your product? Your secret weapon is packaging design.

Aside from taste and price, packaging has become an increasingly influential factor in leading consumers to buy products. Think about it: A product’s packaging is the first point of contact your target market has with your product, so it’s got to make an impact.

Apart from looking good, your food packaging must protect, preserve and conveniently transport the contents. Your labelling and packaging must also effectively convey to consumers what they should expect to find inside and how it might benefit them.

Using some of my favourite examples, I have compiled my top seven tips for enticing customers with your food package design in today’s market.

1. Be clear & relevant

Whilst creative and fun designs draw crowds, a lot can be said for clear and simple communication. Consumers are much savvier about what they do and do not want to put into their body so they’re going to check your product’s labels against your competitors’ for nutritional advice and ingredients before they make a purchasing decision.

Don’t put potential customers off by using unconventional and illegible fonts or colours that mar nutritional information. Similarly, imagery that just isn’t relevant to the contents can be off putting.

Don’t make labels too small and inconspicuous so that consumers can’t read brand and nutritional information.

Here’s an example of how the Covent Garden Soup Co. has used branded fonts and attractive colours on their packaging labels, but has still managed to effectively convey ingredients, cooking instructions and a little detail about the brand’s history.

Image source: bestinpackaging.com

2. Be convenient
According to a July 2013 Food Packaging Trends report by Mintel, consumers are now demanding that your food product offers convenience, reuse and mobility – as well as being competitive on price.

As people lead increasingly busier lives, they’re favouring products they can physically grab on the go. Therefor awkward, bulky packaging will not have mass appeal.

What’s more, people are eating on the go, or looking for a product that will go from shelf to microwave or oven. So if your packaging is easy to carry, can be re-sealed and neatly placed in the oven, you’ll be meeting today’s growing consumer needs.

Take a look at how designer Zoran Svraka has created packaging solution for the fast food and take-away industry:

The design is modular and different food compartments, like sides, can be attached and removed. The neat handle allows the entire meal to be transported easily.

3. Be sustainable
Sustainability is important for both ethical and business reasons. Ensuring your product will not contribute to the global waste and environmental issues creates a good impression with today’s more ethical consumer.

Producing packaging which can be widely recycled assists the World you live in improves your own business practices. Win-win.

This Snack Box from are you peckish is a perfect example of sustainable, custom packaging. The brand is a natural and organic “snack” foods company, so it sits within their brand ethos to use sustainable and recyclable materials.

Image source: www.projectpackaging.com

As you can see, Are You Peckish hasn’t had to compromise on design and functionality for suatainable materials. They also deliver their snack boxes by post so the design is portable and can be resealed for snacking throughout the day.

4. Be inspirational
Being creative as well as functional is definitely a bonus. In fact, creative packaging that gives an impression of flavour or conveys the contents in a literal manner are all good selling points for sensory products like food.

Check out this fresh fish packet designed by Postler Ferguson:

Image source: www.postlerferguson.com

Some might call this ugly, but you simply cannot mistake the contents of this package. This photograph of the fish is to scale and helps to portray the freshness and quality of the product. The polyethylene case is slipped over the fish at the counter. The packaging is airtight, resealable and can be filled with ice for transport to keep fish fresh until it hits the pan!

5. Consider colour
The psychology behind colour in marketing is a popular subject amongst brands. You may be asking which colours best reflect your brand, products and values. But have you also considered how your colours appeal to your target market?

Julie Neidlinger has created a handy colour psychology guide along with infographics that depict the emotions people generally feel when looking at the colours on packaging and other marketing materials:

Consider who you are aiming to sell your food to; are they primarily male or female? Are they a higher socioeconomic group due to the content of the product? Are you aiming your food products at parents to specifically entice them to buy for their children?

Also consider the kind of food you’re selling; a fresh salad will need colours that instil certain emotions in consumers for them to pick up the product and buy it in the first place, so using greens, yellows, blues and even pinks may work better for you than browns, greys and metallics.

6. Use the right language
If you’re selling food, you’ll want to use language that conjures the taste and sensory impact that your product will have on the consumer. For example, using terms like “fragrant” and “spicy” to describe a pre-made curry will give your audience a good idea of what to expect.

Here’s how the Slingshot Coffee Co. have succinctly described their brand of coffee on their label:

Image source: http://slingshotcoffeecompany.com/

“Delicious” and “refreshing” are two things that any true coffee lover would expect from their morning cup.

As well as getting the language right, ensure that everything is grammatically sound and that spelling is correct. Erroneous packaging is usually associated with lower quality brands and can even make your product look suspect and potentially contraband.

7. Show the food
Food is sensory, so if your consumers can’t taste or smell your product first, let them see it! One of the newest trends in packaging design is minimalism, particularly clear packaging. The benefit of this is so that consumers can see what they’ll be purchasing as well as the quality of the product. A direct view of the product, coupled with the nutrional information will be doubley influential for your target market.

Take a look at think Thin’s transparent packaging for their crunch bars:

Image source: www.theshelbyreport.com

The product takes centre stage whilst the nutritional values and branding information are still readily displayed on the front.

To sum up
Successful food packaging offers convenience, sustainability and conveys the flavourful contents. If you can strike a balance between all three, you should see your product flying off the shelves.

About the author
Mark Chapman is the Sales Manager for UK based custom and bespoke packaging specialists, Project Packaging. Mark has managed and helped to manufacture the design and creation of a variety of packaging solutions. You can connect with him on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.