Nutritious never looked so good
Healthy and nutritious food products have come a long way not only in terms of taste and quality but also in looks. The products of decades past looked bland and quite often packed a flavour that met expectations. So overused are images of fields of childrens crayon drawings of happy farms that we have become blind to such imagery and with the current generation things have most certainly changed. With new entrepreneurs launching fresh start up companies, the field was wide open for more eye catching brands to sweep in attract new consumers with bold and spunky designs.
At Natural & Organic Products Europe the first product to catch our eye was Lemonaid, a range of organic soft drinks. Coming from Scandinavia, a region highly regarded within modern minimalist design, the glass bottle is labeled with a bold sans serif typeface and a first-aid cross giving it the appearance of a revitalising tonic. This visual and linguistic play provides a clue as to the fairtrade activity behind the brand. Sourcing directly from small-scale farmers, the company is set out to support underprivileged regions of Sri Lanka, Paraguay, South Africa and Mexico. In addition to paying higher prices for the raw ingredients through Fairtrade, every bottle sold supports social projects in the farmers’ local communities. So far, more than £560,000 have been raised and donated to their charitable organization. Such ethical practices not only strikes a chord within the natural and organic market, but furthermore mainstream brands are doing more and more to be seen in a positive light. To tie ethics to the brand in the way is a smart move indeed.
One of the knock-out products at the show was the newly launch Ei water range. The name is derived from a Japanese noun meaning love of self and beauty from within. The bottles themselves could easily be mistaken for high end cosmetics, presented in premium plastic bottles emblazoned with a silver ‘designers republic’ esque logo. The Japanese Ei symbol is also moulded atop the chunky screw cap. With looks this good you would think that there would be no way that the product could deliver on expectations, but you would be wrong. The range including coconut, collagen, pro biotic and protein water offered some of the best and smoothest flavours we tasted at the show. With this brand natural and organic has reached a whole new level of premium.
Tapped is a new brand of birch sap water that was launching at the show. Birch sap has been a drink across northern regions for centuries believed to have both medicinal and cosmetic properties. Bringing birch water to the UK, Tapped offers a subtle and very clever clue with its packaging. Designed by Horse Studio, the cylindrical carton when filled with the drink feels like a conventional metallic can. In isolation the product appears to adopt a friendly aesthetic with a broken stripe and an overhanging sticker to label the carton. However when stacked it reveals that the carton is designed to resemble the trunk of a birch tree, suggesting that to drink from the carton is to drink directly from the source. The drinks themselves come in 3 subtle flavours – Original, Bilberry & Lingonberry and Apple & Root Ginger with a very silm calorie count of between 10-40 calories per carton.
9Bar is a range of natural nut and seed energy bars that has been on the market for a number of years. The evolution of its design is a clear demonstration of how the visual language and aesthetic of natural products has changed. Early designs of the product featured plain white packaging edged with photos of their ingredients and branding in a traditional signature font. Wind the clock forward to the 9Bar that is currently on the shelf and we find a product with a much stronger brand identity using product images and a natural colour palate. Now with the new rebrand their is a clear objective to talk more about the product’s USPs. 9Bars are made from 70% seeds and in that they feel they have a unique proposition, so they’ve addressed that by stripping everything back to basics. The new packaging is the most bold and punchy yet using energising words like ‘hit’, ‘boost’ and ‘lift’, presented with a more ethnic look helping to draw a clear connection to the source of the bars ingredients. For a full interview with 9Bar’s CEO Mark Gould on the product’s relaunch, click here.
Kromland Farm is a range of Rooibos teas sourced from a single estate in South Africa. Rooibos Tea is low in tannin and high in antioxidants and has long been valued for its natural goodness by South African people. Naturally caffeine free, it is thought to help with nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems and works as an anti-inflammatory. The design of Kromland Farm uses bright colour and animated fonts to give it a punchy and vibrant look with packaging that is robust and stands out on the shelf. This is again reflective of changing audiences as generations. Those before who had been satisfied with dull and bland packaging, using the PG chimp or the Tetley tea men to promote what was in many ways a fairly unremarkable staple purchase, have now been replace with new tea drinks looking for the more vibrant and exotic blends.