This question will split a room of designers and has prompted hundreds of articles online, so we decided to bring it down to our top 3 considerations.
In answering customers asking about requirements for effective food packaging, we very often break the answer down into the following three categories:
We will park the debates about how Form follows function for now and explain why Form is essential for effective food packaging.
The size, shape, colour and texture of your packaging are what is going to make your packaging stand out and grab your customer’s attention. All other considerations are made mute if a customer is not aware of or engaged with your packaging.
Being able to stand out, gain attention and retain interest enough to pick your packaging from the shelf is of utmost importance. An innovative change of shape or material can set your product apart from the competition, where carefully applied branding combined with innovative use of imagery, sector-specific colours and fonts can influence consumers to purchase.
A great example we recently created is this frozen baby food branding and packaging for Tom Pom Food.
Once a customer has engaged with the packaging its functional features can be considered and appreciated.
The best functional food packaging design is examples that clearly demonstrate the ability to protect the product whilst highlighting the features and benefits, whether this is through cut-outs to show the product, providing greater convenience and other features that improve useability.
One of the most prevalent added value functions is the ability to reclose, allowing for the packaging to offer a more practical solution for products that need to be accessed several times, i.e., Wipes, snacks etc.
Other functional features can include smart labels and QR codes to span the gap between print and online.
Retail Ready Packaging needs to consider retailer needs to both store, stack and promote products on the shelf.
If these are not considered, then valuable shelf space could be lost and the opportunity to add value is gone. If barcodes are hard to read or difficult to find, you might find your products returned or not promoted in the store correctly
Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’ feature anymore, it is essential. We could have included the fabric of the packaging in the Function above, but it is so important it warranted its own section. Recycling is not new, but it is constantly being challenged to adapt and improve, whether that is to make packaging from recycled materials through ensuring they can be recycled again.
If packaging even appears to be wasteful or consists of unnecessary material, it can have a negative impact on your product’s success. A point clearly demonstrated in the packaging design work we did for an innovative food start-up the Wonky Food Co.
Keeping up to date on current expectations should not be considered enough, brands that anticipate future changes and embrace sustainability can achieve great recognition for doing so and be seen as market leaders.