Gluten-free. Grain-free. Keto. Paleo. Sugar-free. 100% plant-based. Adaptogenic. The list goes on.🤯 The average supermarket in America carries over 30,000 SKUS, each competing for the eyes of hungry shoppers browsing the aisles.

While food and beverage packaging must meet the demands of regulatory laws, it must also meet the demands of your target consumer segment while honing in to your brand's unique story. 

Getting all three right can be a challenge, but the end result is a beautifully packaged product that maximizes value at every stage of its lifecycle – from shipping to store shelf presentation to consumption.

So, what are some helpful tips to avoid front-of-pack fatigue and make the most of your product's labeling...?

An excerpt from Food Business News: Front-of-pack claims are evolving

Three seconds — that’s how much time shoppers spend looking at food packaging and making judgment calls on what’s inside. The real estate of the front of that package is precious, as a brand’s marketing team has such a short window to grab shoppers’ attention and hold it long enough to convince them to make the purchase. “We’re all competing for consumer attention at the grocery store, whether it’s the snack wall, the bread wall or the chip wall,” said Dan Letchinger, product manager, Dave’s Killer Bread, Milwaukie, OR.

This competition bombards consumers with messages of whole grains, gluten-free, protein, fiber, organic, non-GMO and all other assortments of buzzwords aimed to draw shoppers in. It can get overwhelming.

“Consumers are confused,” said Phil Lempert, author and food industry expert at the Snack Food Association’s annual convention this year. “We see that time and again, and why not? They see all different messages.”

Food marketers have to walk a fine line of simplifying their message and then communicating it effectively. “The value is understanding what is the claim that’s going to resonate most prominently with your consumers,” said Brett Hartmann, category manager, snacks, Hain Celestial, Lake Success, NY. “To that end we vary what we say on packaging, but we want to try to be focused and highlight those one or two claims that will resonate with our target consumer set.”

Front of package offers marketers an opportunity to communicate with consumers, dispel misinformation and educate them. “The real value is the information you’re sharing with the consumer,” Mr. Hartmann said. “Consumers are concerned with what’s going into the product, and if you can give that information to them up front, then they can make those decisions.”

And in this new climate of consumers who are hungry for information about their food, these claims are more important than ever. “It’s what consumers want,” Mr. Letchinger said. “They want transparency; they want education.”


An excerpt from 'Ramping Your Brand' by Dr. James F. Richardson on a simple front panel 

Halo Top released a major packaging redesign in 2015, at the beginning of the summer ice cream season. The original Halo Top package had a fairly typical case of new product feature-itis. The front panel listed "good source of protein," "all natural," "light," "7g protein," "70 calories," and "4g net carbs." In journalism, this is called burying the lead, and it is very common among new entrepreneurs who do not understand basic CPG front-panel design principles. Symbol-crowded front panels like this one give consumers no way to quickly form a single, powerful, attribute-outcome association. What's more, "good source of protein" unfortunately occupied the top position, where the trademark should always be. Whoops. Clutter shuts down the ability for busy shoppers to quickly scan the product's key symbols and to detect relevance to outcomes they're subconsciously seeking. 

In contrast, the revised Halo Top package design all but screams "low calorie" in a category where sugar-free, "light" ice creams have never sold well. The new package is also cleaner and less cluttered, allowing busy shopper's brain to promptly grab on to the front package, memorize its key symbolism, and form a quick association with one of many outcomes. 

When a premium CPG brand can create an extremely focused and clear visual communication of symbolic attributes tied to high-stakes dietary outcomes, above-average growth is usually at hand. This requires making bold decisions to banish dozens of competing symbols from your front panel. Simple font panels are hard to finalize, even at BigCo. But the most successful CPG brands continue to feature them. 

But don't forget about the FDA!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. This applies to foods produced domestically, as well as foods from foreign countries. Before designing your product's package, familiarize yourself with the FDA's set of guidelines for food & beverage labeling. 

What about back-of-pack?

The back of pack is where you can get a little creative. Use the components promoted on the front to paint a deeper story of what your brand stands for. We love THESE ideas from New Jersey-based Miller Creative.

💰 FOODBORO PITCH DAY: Wednesday, September 22 

We frequently get requests from makers who are looking to grow their business with funding from outside sources. We are lucky to have a number of experienced investors within our network, and are planning to host our first-ever Pitch Day for Foodboro members to connect with the right investment partner. If this is something you would be interested in as we bring this concept to life, shoot us an email!

🔦 Startup Spotlight

MR BING CHILI CRISP: Mr. Bing is on a mission is to create mouth-watering foods inspired by Chinese cooking that are healthy, sustainable, and accessible to as many people as possible. They support community by building diversity into their team and partner ecosystem, and by giving a portion of their time and proceeds to charities that create cross-cultural dialogue and understanding. Check out their must-try products here

Each week we feature a Foodboro Maker Member we're loving. Not a member? Join now for your chance in the limelight! 

We are in the process of planning our Q4 content calendar and are seeking Partner Members to sponsor our public newsletter! It is a great way to show that you are an industry-leader and build loyalty among our audience of the unique CPG market. If interested, shoot us an email and we can discuss further. 


🧠 Reading Roundup: September 8, 2021

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