European Packing Insights

European Packing Insights

One of our favorite things about traveling is getting the opportunity to soak up packaging design from cultures outside of the US. Dig in for a rundown of some overarching trends that some of our team members have seen in their European travels. PHOTOGRAPHY ON PACKAGE Using photography can bring big personality to a brand. Coupled with interesting typography and layouts, these image driven labels draw lots of attention to themselves on shelf.             BOLD TYPE SOLUTIONS Typographic choices like unconventional fonts and making objects into letters lend an edge to food packaging, and can speak volumes about the brand.       STRATEGIC WINDOWS Product windows are being seen more and more as a sign of transparency and authenticity in food. Companies are becoming innovative in the way that they use these windows, often having them mimic the shape of the product so that it becomes seamless with the overall package design.       COLOR BLOCKING The banality that minimalism is capable of inducing can be easily overcome by using bright, playful colors to differentiate SKU’s. When lined up side by side on shelf, they create an appealing rainbow.           VIBRANT ILLUSTRATION Illustrations can create a unique, hand-rendered feeling for products. Using contrasting colors and textures sets this type of packaging apart from some of the more structured options on shelf.         Check out the full gallery of images...
Food Tech Solutions in China

Food Tech Solutions in China

As the country with the largest population in the world, it has been vital for China to implement serious changes within their food system. Issues concerning sustainable food production, polluted crops and food waste are being met head on with a myriad of outside-the-box solutions. These new innovations have generally been met with open arms by consumers. According to Sam Geall, “a research fellow at the U.K.’s University of Sussex who focuses on China’s environment and agriculture” (Bloomberg), many Chinese people are wary about food-safety, and express a willingness to pay more for higher quality products. With pollution, overuse of fertilizer and other food related hazards causing mistrust, there’s no denying that the feeding the ever-growing population requires rethinking food production. Source So what is the key to cultivating innovative food technology in a country of 1.4 billion citizens? Startups are shining in this area. Bits x Bites, a Shanghai based “accelerator and venture capital that supports food tech startups in shaping our food future” offers select food-tech startups the capital and guidance needed to thrive in the Chinese economy. The first of its kind, Bits x Bites is supporting some seriously innovative startups. Source China is struggling to maintain farmable land and more crops are imported than grown in the country. This has led entrepreneurs to turn to hydroponic farming for fresh produce options. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing researched vertical farming, and found the method to be highly successful and sustainable. This has garnered attention and spurred the Agricultural Development Bank of China to fund key projects promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture (Bloomberg)....
The Double-Edged Sword of Natural

The Double-Edged Sword of Natural

Since the dawn of man, we’ve been obsessed with food, and if you need evidence in this day and age, look no further than a millennial’s Instagram. Food has and will always be a means of survival, but for many, foods role has evolved from sustenance to enjoyment. Prominent trends such as Transparency, Veganism, Mindfulness, Freshness are at the forefront. One Master Trend overrules them all simplicity in food. We all win… Or do we? We’re in a race to the bottom of an ingredient list. We are removing as much over-processing as possible. These are all good things, but… In the process, an important equity has been lost – taste differentiation. Which is something Big Food always benefitted from.     And for decades, Big Food has built brands on the pleasure of taste… irreproducible, proprietary, unnatural but ultimately delicious taste. A locavore or organictarian, with a gun to its head, would choose an Oreo over a private label knockoff, no questions asked. A Dorito over a cheese flavored tortilla chip. A Coke over cola. Intensive food science, heavy processing and laboratories that double as “kitchens” gave way to these patented, competitive brand advantages. These fabricated flavors turned products into household names, and ultimately billion-dollar brands. Yet the same practice that built Big Food up, is now responsible for its demise and vilification. Less Ingredients + Less Processing + Less Engineering = Commodities. So the natural foods industry is now faced with answering the tough question of how do you democratize natural food without falling victim to the dreaded C-word; commoditization? How do you build a meaningful brand without the type of flavor differentiation Big Food benefitted...
The Vegan Society Debuts Vegan Trademark

The Vegan Society Debuts Vegan Trademark

The Vegan Society, based in the United Kingdom, recently launched their new trademark that certifies vegan standard for food products. Several food companies are already sporting the new certification on package. Will this go the way of the gluten free and non-GMO certifications that have graced packaging for the last few years? It certainly instills a sense of wellbeing and assurance for the consumer, as the certification requires that specific standards be met by the companies before they will stand behind them. As we see it moving across the UK and Europe, we wonder how it’s going to affect the US. Vegan products are already doing well right now, particularly in the snacking category, but the Certified Vegan mark is not necessarily a deciding factor for the average consumer at this...
The Growth of Nut and Seed Butters

The Growth of Nut and Seed Butters

Peanut butter is a classic protein packed snack that’s versatile enough to be combined with just about anything. For a long time, it was the only kind of nut butter that people knew of. With constantly evolving consumer dietary needs, we’ve seen a boom in “butters” made from all kinds of different nuts and seeds. Here are a few aspects of this growing category that brands are taking into account: Source PRESENTATION The demand for peanut butter alternatives has resulted in an influx of “butters” made from ground almonds, cashews, pistachios and more. Often at a higher price point, it is common to see companies touting the healthy benefits of their product. Nutraw’s pistachio butter features packaging that is more elevated than what you might associate with a typical peanut butter jar, reflecting the minimal ingredients (stripped down to just pistachios, coconut oil and vanilla). Similarly, butters are increasingly being made from seeds – even ones you may not have ever thought to eat. Sunflower and pumpkin seed butters have been heralded as friendly options for consumers with nut allergies. Watermelon seed butter is unconventional yet intriguing. Sakara’s version appeals to consumers based on its aesthetic alone. The cream colored product is complemented by equally clean packaging, suggesting its simplicity and quality. Source INCLUSIONS Inclusions and unique flavors set brands apart in this ever growing category. Sesame seed butter is traditionally known as tahini, a main ingredient in hummus, but it’s making its way more and more into the butter category. Ilka’s Chai Sesame Butter appeals to create a more memorable and unique experience when spread over toast or fruit. Big Spoon Roasters also offer various nut butter flavors, like Espresso and Vanilla...
Trend Watch // Healthy Rainbow Food

Trend Watch // Healthy Rainbow Food

There’s something magical about adding some vibrant color to the foods we eat every day. Though we may now realize that artificially colored and sugar packed cereals are not the greatest choice for breakfast, we can still choose health conscious options with a little whimsy sprinkled in. Enter Vibrant and Pure’s Unicorn Toast. At first glance, it’s a slice of bread adorned by food colored cream cheese applied in a dreamy, painterly fashion. Upon learning more, we find out that those colors are derived from natural ingredients, like beets, tumeric and chlorophyll. These combinations of ingredients might not sound appealing by the sound, but it is truly a treat to look at. The End in Brooklyn, New York is serving up unicorn “lattes” – colorful concoctions that give a natural and healthy energy boost. These drinks get their beautiful blue hue from spirulina extract, which is known for its health-giving phytonutrients that stimulate the body and mind. While being vegan-friendly and containing nutritional powerhouses, these drinks have some serious appeal Is this simply a passing food fad, or is it the start of a long lasting trend? We could see this spilling over into the cold pressed category, and definitely the healthy snacking spaces for kids and adults alike. What do you think? Email us at blake@interactonshelf.com   Cover image source: Vibrant and...