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.