Modern Trends in Food Packaging

With today’s modern technology, almost anything can be made from scratch. On the news the other day, a Chinese man was able to make an exact replica of the iPad, how’s that for modern? And in today’s time, nothing is left behind. Not even packaging for food.
@SiouxFallsUp proud to deliver a big fat check today to the SF Food Pantry. Great org.
Photo credit iamjohntmeyer.

If yesterdays food packaging looked sad and depressing – kind of like the picture above, don’t fret, those days are long gone. One of the things that people can look forward to when it comes to buying food is the level of originality and freshness that food packaging comes in.
Although it’s not all about the packaging, it’s what’s inside that counts, there’s a reason behind all the crazy ideas in packaging for food. For one, there are too many rival companies that offer the same thing. Companies need to up their game if they want to get ahead. This article will take you on the journey to some of these great marketing food strategies.

• The Minimalist – organic food packaging has been all the rage, why not try something we haven’t tried before? The minimalist, also known as a plain white box, can certainly catch people’s attention. It’s clean, fresh looking, and something about a plain white box really appeals to some people. Sometimes food packaging doesn’t have to say a lot for you to know how good the content is. Its list of ingredients is probably written on the bottom of the box or in a stylish piece of paper inside.

• Crazy Fun Packaging – also known as barely-readable-packages. Some, although not all, try to make their food packaging look so modern that they sometimes forget that they’re packaging for food. This can be a really bad thing or a really good thing. It’s your choice. Some people like the crazy colors and fun prints. Sometimes a cute box is preferred over a plain colored box. Enough said.

• Expensive Looking Packaging – people love the feeling of getting more than what they paid for. With this type of food packaging, you really are. Packaging for food has never been this beautiful. Creatively speaking, an elegantly detailed box that stores chocolate can be re-used for a number of things. They can hold old pictures and wonderful childhood memories. An artistic bottle of wine can be made into a flower vase. There’s no limit to the things you can recycle if you put your mind to it.

• Comparable Packages – you put two products side by side and see that offer the exact same thing. This leaves you with two great choices and not a lot of time to stand there and decide. What would you pick? The easiest route to take is to trust your instincts. Look at both labels, what attracted you to which? If you’ve already tried package A and liked it, then maybe it’s the right choice. But given that you haven’t tried package B and maybe there’s something better out there, then give it a shot! The choice is really up to you.

• Organic Everything Package – it’s organic inside and out. It helps save the environment and provides you with a healthy diet. This option can be somewhat costly, but I guess it pays more to be responsible. If you think about it, it’s not as expensive when you know that you’re saving the world by choosing to go green.

With all the modern changes in food packaging today, you never have to miss out on the finer things in life. When it comes to packaging for food, the trend is constantly changing. But one thing is definitely certain, that it’s only going to get even better.

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Biodegradable Food Packaging

If you could freely enjoy the revolutionary new system of food packaging, wouldn’t that be something worth looking into? What if I told you that there’s a huge market of radical and mind-blowing biodegradable food packaging that will let you take pleasure in getting what you need in boxes that don’t leave you feeling guilty about global warming? Now, have I gotten your attention? Great.

Rondeel Ei
“Photo credit FotoosVanRobin”

Biodegradable food packaging, it’s stylish, it’s fresh out of the box, it makes you feel like a genuinely concerned citizen (and chances are that you really are) and you’re saving the forest one tree at a time! Being strongly dedicated to the welfare of the environment has never been this easy.

With biodegradable food packaging, you don’t have to be a genius to realize all the benefits it can give you and the rest of the population. Feeling the heat of global warming? Well, there’s a chance you can change that. And I don’t mean for you to turn your AC on. I’m not offering a quick fix, but given the choice between biodegradable food packaging and the usual conventional plastic (also known to be petroleum based), your choice can affect the world 10 maybe 20 years from now.

To paint you a picture, imagine plastic bags, plastic film container, leather, tin cans, disposable diapers, and glass bottles still piled up in heaps after 20 years. Because that’s how long it takes for these things to decompose and some even lasts up to 50 years. It’s not a very ideal picture and I would guess that it wouldn’t be the ideal environment you would want your grand kids to grow up in either.

Would it mean that 50 years from now people will just get used to walking on old leather instead of soil? Definitely no, not if you can help it. So, if you haven’t made that choice yet, there’s still hope for you. If there’s one thing people should know, it’s that every bit of good deed counts.

You may not feel any changes in the environment now, but a few good choices in Eco-friendly living will have you enjoying the fresh summer breeze for a longer number of years. And you can pat yourself on the back, because you know you’ve made a huge difference.

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Top Food Packaging Designs in the Last Century

Food packaging design accompanies modern day living. As cities continue to grow and work schedules became more hectic, food preservation was needed to extend shelf life of food products, reduce food preparation time, and eliminate waste. Environmentalism and health consciousness have placed food packaging containers under critical examination largely because of the non-biodegradable wastes, the use of chemicals, and lower nutritional values.

“Talk about your childhood wishes, you can even eat the dishes.” — Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Willie Wonka was probably an inspiration for the trend in food packaging designs that aims to produce edible food packaging materials. Unfortunately, we have to wait for few years for this to be available in the market.

A survey among food packaging suppliers reveals the top ten food packaging designs for the last century.

1. Microwaveable packaging

The invention of the microwave oven in 1967 paved the way for one of the most convenient food preparations today which saves time and money. A range of microwaveable packages include cartons, pouches, bags, tray, and plastic containers for an array of meal preparations including popcorns and cakes.

2. Sachets and pouches

Sachets and pouches are low-cost and highly efficient food packaging materials that replace much of the tin-can items. Lighter and easier to open, they are used for practically all food products.

3. Tetra Pak

A pioneer in aseptic package, Tetra Pak works by sterilizing food products prior to filling with UHT (Ultra High Temperature) thus extending shelf life to more than six months. Recent innovations in color, shapes, and resealable caps make this more attractive to consumers.

4. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)

MAP or Modfied Atmosphere Packaging is considered by many as a major step forward in extending the shelf life of fresh food products by substituting the atmospheric air inside a package with a protective gas mix.

5. Soda cans

The use of aluminum cans in the middle of the last century brought with it a new innovation: the ringpull cans, which eventually developed into stay tabs. They are not only convenient, but full recyclable thus environmentally friendly.

6. Plastic/PET bottles

Where will we be without bottled waters? Although it looks simple, this food packaging material, which is also used for juices and energy drinks, have evolved through the years by using polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This makes the bottles lighter, easier to mold, and more shatterproof than the previous design.

7. Childproof bottles

Parents benefit a lot from the development of childproof bottles which until now continue to baffle children. This is easier for parents to store food items which might be harmful for kids. However, it has been found out that highly inquisitive toddlers always find a way to open these bottle caps.

8. Frozen food packages

Between buying fresh food and those in tin-cans, you have another option – the frozen food. Considered as the first large-scale food packaging design, frozen food packages not only extend shelf life but provide solutions to storage problems.

Naturally, we’re also very excited about the future of food packaging design too!

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Boring food packaging

The designers who create your food packaging designs have high times and low. Like the famous “writers block” designers also get flat and struggle to create solid design for your food product. There’s something in all of us that burns bright when we’re on a roll. This creative energy manifests itself as beautiful design which not only looks great but sells well.

Let’s run a quick case study here because it’s important to understand that all designers have the capacity to suck from time to time. If you are hiring a solo designer, then you can only hope that this individual is on a creative upswing because if you catch them when they are flat, your food packaging is going to reflect that.

The best thing you can do to avoid this altogether is to hire a studio to design your food packaging. Studio tend to have multiple designers on staff and if one designer is weak then the others step in and ensure that your food packaging design is appropriate and professional. Before you hire a studio be sure to view their portfolio, get a price and confirm how many designers they have on staff that will actually be working on your project. From there you will be better informed about which studio to hire for the design of your food packaging.

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Food Packaging Design of the Future

There’s a revolution happening right now. It’s all around you every time you go to the supermarket. It’s a revolution that is redefining the way food packaging is designed. Let’s back up a bit though. For decades our mega brands and mom and pops alike have been packaging their foods in very typical materials such as different kinds of cardboard and plastic.

This stream of waste was for many years just thrown in the trash … and in many countries it still is. More recently in developed nations, recycling programs have shown up which divert some percentage of these discarded packaging materials from landfills to recycling plants who convert the materials into something usable again. Recycling is a bit of a misnomer though because with plastics for example, the material is actually degraded or “down-cycled” during the recycling process.

So what’s the revolution that is going on in food packaging design? You might have guessed already: It’s revolution of materials. And from cardboard to plastics nothing will ever be the same again.

One shift is the use of sustainable wood fibre and post consumer waste for cardboard. This is good news for our forests which have been under attack for wood pulp and timber for centuries. Keep in mind that our clean air and water mostly originate from our wild lands so it’s important to keep them in good shape. With a shift to using sustainably harvested fibre it means we leave what’s left of the virgin forests intact. Next is cardboard products made from recycled fibre. This is called “post consumer waste” and many paper and card stocks now contain some percentage of recycled material. When you couple sustainably harvested fibre with cardboard made from varying percentages of post consumer waste and we start to see some very real change in this industry.

In the world of plastics the action is decidedly more glamorous. New polymers (plastics) are showing up on our shelves which are made from corn, potato and even mushrooms. That’s right. The oils from these vegetables are turned into plastics with very special properties. One of the greatest advantages of these modern plastics is they biodegrade rapidly once they are disposed of. Unlike plastics made from crude oil, they biodegrade into mostly harmless organic particles which are easily broken down into the environment.

Every generation has the luxury of looking back and seeing how silly the previous generations were. Our children will look back at the way we did things and say … “ You what? You wrapped your loaves of bread, a product that has a shelf life of days … with a plastic bag that has a shelf life of decades? That’s insane!”

When you consider that billions of products are sold every single day packaged in cardboard or plastic then it’s definitely a big deal when positive change happens in these industries. We’re looking forward to seeing what other innovation is yet to come in packaging supplies and materials.

If you are considering a food packaging design then consider using these new materials. They aren’t only better for the planet, but they are becoming the standard for many eco-savvy consumers who expect more from their favorite brands. To connect with this modern breed of consumer (and get their dollars) you’ll need to show that your values align with theirs.

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The New Designers


Food packaging design like many creative fields has seen a shift in recent years. It seems as though the so called “middle ground” is disappearing and in it’s place a widening gap between the discount packaging designers and the rock stars of the game.

High end studios will always reign supreme when it comes to top design. That’s their schtick. They fight tooth and nail for lucrative contracts to design food packaging for the Fortune 500s of the world. These studios hire the very best talent for top dollar and it’s within their walls that the industry inches forward with innovation. But not all food packaging containers require that level of artistry, nor can it be afforded a lot of the time. For smaller players, the elite studios simply aren’t an even option. That’s where the New Designers come in.

Competition in the industry benefits the buyers

This new breed of food packaging designer works hard to create designs which are rarely innovative but definitely hold their own. They work significantly cheaper yet the food packaging they design can compete with the best on any supermarket shelf. This favors the buyer who is no longer beholden to hiring expensive studios any longer.

That’s right.

Instead, the buyer can award their project to discount food packaging designers, who for a fraction of a typical project fee, will get to work creating all manner of designs. A typical buyer saves thousand to tens of thousands of dollars when a discount company like ours steps up to the plate and knocks a design out the park. New Designers are process and satisfaction driven. They design “with you” not “at you” and so they are a great fit for buyers who have a sense of who they are and what they need to put into the marketplace. How does a buyer save so much money?

Getting right to work on the right design

The New Designers focus less on the process of schmoozing you and more on getting right to work. Once a creative brief is received they start designing right away with one goal in mind; making you happy with modern, relevant packaging design. Their skill is substantial and their intent on making you smile is unstoppable. You only need look at their portfolio to appreciate the level of craftsmanship that goes into their work.

Like any professional, the quality of their work will speak for itself and the buyer will know intuitively whether their looking at an organization capable of delivering what they need.

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Consistency is King in Food Packaging Design

The most successful brands on the planet all understand and execute one very important branding tactic almost flawlessly. That tactic is simply consistency on all levels or branding and at every single exposure without fail. You’ll never see the golden arches scrunched up to fit some cramped space. You won’t see the Starbucks using a different font in pinch because they couldn’t find their corporate font. You’ll never see the Kellogs logo printed in any color aside from … care to guess? Right. Every time you are exposed to these brands (and their marks) it’s an intentionally consistent visual experience over and over again. This same fanatical consistency is apparent with the food packaging design of all major brands. Why is that?

Well, some genius (decades ago) worked out that brand consistency leads to familiarity. Familiarity leads to warm feelings (trust). All of which ultimately leads to increased sales for a brand. So the term “brand integrity” was born and so to way for companies to monitor and make sure that their products all remained congruous with the branding guidelines set in place by creative directors up high.

You will notice this fanatical brand consistency on the shelves of your supermarket. I say fanatical yet you won’t experience it that way. Brand consistency always appears to be executed with such ease. We don’t perceive the rigorous process behind the food packaging designs on the shelves, the many late hours making edits and changes to designs to ensure they adhere to branding guidelines.

The designers work hard to make it look easy and you’ll see that food packaging designs from the same brand will exhibit predictable traits in order to give a friendly, cohesive experience between them all. This will occur regardless if the company competes in one market like soups or if it competes across many markets like cereals and granola bars and ice cream.

Want to win with your food packaging? Emulate those who have gone before you and spent billions of dollars along the way.

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How to Choose a Food Packaging Designer

Just like food itself, food packaging designers come in all kinds of flavors. Some great, some good and some just downright bad. So how do you know which studio to choose for your packaging design? This is an important question to ask because out there on the shelves, your food product will clock massive sales or sink into obscurity based on the merits of it’s packaging.

Naturally, we’re biased and we’d say just choose us; we’re professional food packaging designers with a proven track record of success. That wouldn’t be fair though, so here’s what we’d do. Consider these sure fire tips you can use to measure up any food packaging designers.

Consideration 1: Design Project Pricing

Most of you will be entering into your packaging design project with a set budget. That budget will be the single biggest determining factor on the kinds of design studios you can hire. A food packaging designer of the highest order will obviously charge massive fees for their services. These are the design companies that work for Fortune 500 companies. They are awesome and they charge accordingly. If you can afford it then of course, hire the best! However, if you aren’t sporting corporate pockets and budget is a concern then you will naturally want to get the most mileage for your money. This means actively short listing whatever package design companies you feel have competitive pricing. With today’s international economy, you can connect with many discount design studios that do amazing work. Just make sure that along with price, you seriously consider…

Consideration 2: Quality of Design Work

If the price is right, the next step is to gauge what’s their portfolio like. Because nothing, absolutely nothing (really, seriously) will be as indicative of what you can expect of your packaging designer than their portfolio of work. By reviewing past work you have the best indication of their design style and whether those strengths and weaknesses play well into your food product. If you like what you see it gives you the confidence to commence your project with a solid assumption of what your design company is capable of. If you don’t like what you see then move on! Don’t expect a company with a weak folio to create punch above their weight class. Beyond their work, do they have any mechanisms in place to protect you…

Consideration 3: Packaging Design Concepts & Revisions

Professional food packaging studios will have clear terms about what is and isn’t included in their design services. Traditionally, design studios limit the number of revisions they perform so they can finish your project and take on another. While we can’ speak for others in this regard, we can confidently say we’re quite different in this one critical respect. Our primary goal is always (and I mean always) client satisfaction. This means we’ve crafted unparalleled revision terms no client can resist. What are these terms? We provide what we like to call “Unlimited concepts and unlimited revisions!” Yes, with an exclamation mark because it is a pretty darn special thing to offer. Our studio prides itself on happily making whatever changes are necessary in order to put a smile on your face. No cutting corners, no rushing a job out the door. Just good old fashioned service which results in awesome modern packaging design.

Consideration 4: Money Back Guarantees

Our competitors won’t even go near this one. And it speaks for itself so we’ll keep it short (no need to boast right?) We protect all of our clients with an industry leading money back guarantee. That’s right. If you aren’t satisfied then you simply request a refund. No weird fine print, no complex mumbo jumbo, just a plain English promise that you can check out on the money back guarantee page on our website.

Choosing Your Food Packaging Designer Confidently

If there was any doubt about hiring a designer for your food packaging design it should well and truly be dismissed. If it isn’t then let us know how we can help you or how we can improve this article. Get in touch any time!

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Competitive Food Packaging

When your food product is sitting on the shelf, its elbows out against all competitors, nothing matters more than the packaging. I say that with utter confidence because it’s a rare day when your food product is on display by itself with no one around to compete against.

Let’s for a minute pretend that your direct competitors don’t exist, what then of all the visual noise in a supermarket or convenience store? Maybe “visual noise” isn’t quite the right term, in today’s consumer culture, “visual riot” is more appropriate. Walking into any given store these stores results in massive amounts of products all vying for your attention … in every single direction you look.

To some debatable extents, we tune out much of what we see and hear in these environments in order to accomplish our mission: stay sane, don’t spend the whole day in this store and get the shopping done (your mission directives may vary). That “tune out” mode is why having great food packaging in the first place is so important.

In NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) there is a term called “pattern interrupt”. A pattern interrupt is where you r regular pattern or brain sequence (behavior) is interrupted verbally or physically. Think of it as an exceptional action taken, or words spoken which pull you out of your normal state.

If we we’re having a conversation and I yelled “MONKEY BUTT!” you might think I had tourettes syndrome but the effect would be that of a pattern interrupt, I would well and truly have your attention.

Great packaging design needs to perform it’s own pattern interrupts. It needs to yell “MONKEY BUTT!” Just kidding. It needs to pattern interrupt with a message that says “OVER HERE, I’M EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR”. And smart food packaging design just does that. The most clever of packaging will communicate like a loud laser to it’s target audience and simply whisper to everyone else.

Because in the world of food packaging, no one else matters aside from the target audience. Communicate to your audience in a way that resonates with them and you’ll hear the sweet sound of many beeps at the checkout from your product.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Hey I’m just getting this blog set up and it’s been fun so far!  I love WordPress that’s for sure … it’s been a real sintch to get everything up and running and I’ll be writing about my adventures in food packaging design in the days ahead.  Yup, cause that’s what I love.  Of all the things in life, I get bitten with a bug that has me scrutinizing every single piece of food packaging in my life and loving it! 🙂 Let me know if you want to read or learn about anything in particular in the comments below OK?  Thanks!

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