Yesterday in Waitrose, I watched a 10-month old toddler in a pushchair lean over to the supermarket basket his father had placed by his pushchair, while his parents chatted, waiting in the queue to pay. He chose this product and some bananas from the other products in the basket. He recognised "his" product by the colours, shape and texture of the packaging. I could see him enjoying the colour and feel of the Ella's Kitchen pouch.
His young, new, mother looked at me and said: "I know I should be making him home-cooked food, and I do but sometimes it's so easy to buy these..."
The only test of whether your packaging design works in store is sales. It's not what the design agency tells you. It's not what you think as the founder; you're probably too close to your product to judge how it comes across to outsiders to your brand.
Stage One: Does it catch the consumer's eye?
Look at the amount of choice she has here.
I repeatedly research pack design and pack communications for Firefly Tonics, innocent drinks, and Rude Health.
For Rude Health, we needed to compel attention for their - newly listed in 350 Tesco stores - granola. And explain what granola is - it's a new category - and unfamiliar. And compete with all those habitual brightly coloured cereal purchases in the cereal aisle. Off the back of the consumer research we did, Rude Health employed a bright colour, made the word Granola very big, made the product shot appealing (it couldn't be a window for technical reasons but it looks like one), listed out the ingredients clearly.
I bought this in my Waitrose supermarket today. Minimalist mince packaging, it's like an inflated pillow of film with the mince inside (packaged in a protective atmosphere). This new packaging uses 50% less plastic than the previous version.
Well done, Waitrose. Now I don't have to throw away rigid plastic meat packaging, which goes straight to landfill and makes me feel guilty. Waitrose save money on packaging, I have less waste.
I've just done a project for innocent drinks, interviewing consumers in the aisles.
There is no better final way to check the appeal of a new product before you commit to production runs than to put it on the shelf in the supermarket, and see if it catches shoppers' attention. Do they see it as they come round into the aisle? Do they pause, approach it and pick it up? Does it stand out against its competitors? Will it sell?
In this case, it did. It frequently went into trolleys and off down the aisle towards the check-out. I had to run after people and explain to them that it wasn't quite a finished product, and that, no, they couldn't buy it yet.