Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK ■ 55 APRIL 2018 story." For instance, she says, London-based eco-startup brand Snact "is not just a range of fruit jerky and bars made from surplus fruit, but is now available in 100% home com- postable packaging. Added to this, the brand is on a mission to build a global movement of 'snactivists' to create a better food system and healthier food culture and community, perfectly in tune with today's agenda and environmental obligations." Sustainability Is Key In fact, the notion that today's consum- ers are more conscious of sustainability, traceability, and issues of supply-chain transparency than ever before is a fre- quent topic of conversation in the natural products industry. It should come as no surprise, then, that those same consum- ers find packaging that hits on these same messages of "clean label," sustainable, or "all natural" especially enticing. Monika Cascone, creative director, SmashBrand (Eden, UT), tells Nutritional Outlook that consumers are more aware than ever before about issues of sustain- ability, and are moving away from plastic packaging—which has come to be as- sociated with images of bottles littering the oceans—whenever possible. She says that some of SmashBrand's recent projects have included packaging "that specifically had to be recyclable, to not only fit with the overall brand story but to target the younger and more responsible consumer." But while consumers are driving the trend toward more sustainable packaging, Maxwell says that the onus to deliver in- novative designs in a way that aligns with sustainable packaging trends is on design- ers: "Sustainability is now a growing end- to-end issue for the manufacturing and supply process. We are seeing the removal of secondary packaging and scaling of in- novation to make products both easier to shelve and a more conscious and con- venient choice for consumers in terms of portability and disposal." The important thing to note here, says Maxwell, is that "sustainable design ex- pression" no longer has a single accepted look. In other words, packaging doesn't need to look "granola" to be sustainable. " Whereas it previously perpetuated a 'worthy' expression, sustainable design is now more original, sleek, and f t for purpose, as function now drives its form," Maxwell says. She adds that f nding sustainable packag- ing solutions means that brands must think outside the box—or outside the plastic bot- tle. "We need to look at new bio materials, work towards less standardization in mate- rials, and focus on smart, sustainable design thinking. BPA-free, reusable water bottles are the popular choice, but we still need to push the boundaries and look for new pack- aging innovations." Even massive brands like Pepsi, with its new and entirely reusable Drinkf nity system, for example, are blowing with these winds of change. Personalization Finally, packages that encourage personal- ization and engagement are also on the rise. Take subscription brands, Maxwell says. "Not only do these subscription brands conveniently deliver tailored health and nutritional of ers to our doors and desks, but the opening of the packaging dials up unique brand experiences that play to our desire for surprise, discovery, creativity, se- duction, and interaction." Here, she points to the VITL personalized nutrition letter- box brand, which delivers personalized daily nutritional supplements and advice "with the convenience of practical, porta- ble, and space-saving daily vitamin strips packaged up in a letterbox-sized box." Investing in the Future It's a truth universal: small or startup brands have less money to spend on unique or dis- ruptive packaging; unfortunately, at the same time, clever packaging design is one of the most crucial ways for these brands to stand out. But for brands who might be worried about the bottom line, Cascone emphasizes that standing out doesn't nec- essarily always have to require big budgets. Sometimes, even simple changes can make a dif erence. "T ink about Boxed Water," she says. "When the [water-in-a-box brand] f rst came out a few years ago, everyone was talking about it! All they did was package water in a paper carton, and it immediately stood out next to every other brand whose water was in a clear plastic bottle." And on the investment front, B12's LeB- lanc adds that while some investors may fear packaging that strays too far from the con- ventional, he believes that "the more main- stream and familiar a brand seems, the more likely it is to get lost in the crowd." Ultimately, says Pearlf sher's Maxwell, all brands—whether established or new— should prioritize product packaging that con- veys a clear message while also "challenging existing paradigms to create new thoughts and expressions for brands—and redef ne categories—as they move into the future." PHOTO COURTESY OF SNACT Snact's packaging conveys its brand ethos to environmentally conscious consumers.

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