Robot Food

Marshalls Mill, Marshall St, Holbeck, Leeds LS11 9YJ, UK

Design: Robot Food
Location: United Kingdom
Project Type: Produced
Client: Co-op
Product Launch Location: United Kingdom
Packaging Contents: Vegan food

Leeds-based branding agency Robot Food work with Co-op, once again, to deliver a game-changing approach to the pioneering retailer’s new plant-based food range.

With the popularity of plant-based alternatives on the rise, Co-op looks to take a bite out of the £1bn vegan market with the launch of exclusive new brand GRO. Robot Food, long-time strategic creative partner of Co-op, were tasked with developing the new offering’s strategy, identity, name, tone of voice and packaging designs.

In what is believed to be the largest ever vegan product rollout by a supermarket, Co-op’s new range is stocked in 2,000 Co-op stores and up to 4,000 independent retailers through Co-op’s wholesale operation NISA. The new GRO range caters for the growing appetite for plant-based food and is designed with the convenience shopper in mind.

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A category audit showed much of own-brand meat-free and vegan to be an apologetic alternative. Robot Food saw Co-op as perfectly placed to lead and suggested a new approach to shatter customer expectations. To create a compelling stand-alone brand, proudly endorsed by Co-op, that challenges the worthy precedent set by own-brand and sits comfortably amongst emergent plant-based brands.

A defined purpose and personality would resonate with the target of young modern consumers but Robot Food recognised the biggest opportunity lay in 7% of the nation looking to cut back on their animal consumption – the meat-reducers (YouGov, 2019). Robot Food’s positioning put food first and focussed on the future to broaden appeal and include the ‘vegan-ish’ as well as committed vegans.

Julia Allan, Senior Designer at Robot Food says, “We wanted to signal the shifting attitude towards plant-based food and its appetite appeal. Inspiration came from the digital graphic style of contemporary food delivery services, as well as pop ups and street food. This led to a bold and vibrant creative direction that felt fresh, foodie and really confident. Our celebratory tone of voice brings this to life verbally as well, using expressive language to champion ingredients, flavours and textures.”

Allan continues, “Such an extensive range of various products and formats across multiple locations in store meant convenience and stand-out was key. GRO’s distinct identity and architecture not only makes the range easy to shop but creates a strong visual impact. Whether it’s a singular product or a dedicated merchandised area – you can’t miss it.”