Derrick Lin


Design: Stockholm Design Lab
Project Type: Produced, Commercial Work
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Packaging Contents: Food, beverage, beer, snacks

Packaging puts Swedish food on the world’s (self-assembled) dinner tables
Not only is IKEA the world’s largest furniture retailer, with around 350 stores in 43 countries, it is also Sweden’s largest exporter of meat: there’s an appetite for IKEA’s meatballs everywhere you go. IKEA’s in-store cafés have been around since the 1960s but, for almost as long, the retailer has sold a selection of Swedish specialities in small “food markets” positioned after the main checkouts

IKEA wished to consolidate its café and food market operations by bringing them under a single, Swedish-flavoured brand – IKEA Food – and introducing a wide range of own-label products offering good value, traditional Swedish fare. SDL had already worked with IKEA for several years. Now the retailer asked us to do the same for its food range.

The challenge was to convey visually what couldn’t be conveyed verbally. IKEA insisted that each product be labelled only with its name, in Swedish – Gräddsås, Lingonsylt, Skarpsill and so on – even in its 42 out of 43 non-Swedish-speaking markets. We devised three strategies for the food packaging, based on: transparency wherever possible, with windows or glass jars showing off products such as sauces, sweets and fruit; iconic illustrations and silhouettes on canned food, for instance; and photography, where more visual information is required.