The free-from sector is booming and more food products are competing in this space. So outstanding packaging design is seen as key in attracting the ‘lifestyle’ shopper. Not just those consumers who follow a free-from diet for medical reasons, but also those customers looking to reduce their sugar, dairy and gluten intake as part of a healthier lifestyle.
Concerns around the environment and animal ethics are giving free-from food and drink a boost too. According to Kantar Worldpanel data, shoppers are now reaching for free-from products up to 18.6 times a year on average. And a report by Mintel at the end of 2018 states that the value of the UK free-from market is set to soar to £1.1bn by 2023. The value currently stands at £837 million.
Free-from products have broken free of the health food shop and gone mainstream. But how are free-from companies attracting these everyday purchasers? By focusing on pleasure, taste and enjoyment, while still catering for the health needs of their base customer. And by using packaging to communicate a brand’s story in a visually exciting way.
Jackdaw Design’s brand and packaging strategy for Borough 22’s free-from doughnuts focused on positioning the brand as a credible bakery in their own right, rather than as an alternative to the traditional offering.
The flexible visual language takes inspiration from the doughnuts themselves, with lively spotty patterns inspired by the ingredients, mixed with stripes, waves, zig-zags and geometric shapes representing each flavour. The bold colour palette expresses the personality of each doughnut and the vibrancy of the range.
As the free-from market expands, more innovative free-from treat brands are keen to shake up the industry. These businesses have developed a mainstream appeal and a commercial attitude to reach their customers. It’s less about worthy messages and more about the flavour.
The Raw Chocolate Co are all about taste. They produce 100% vegan organic raw chocolate and healthy snacks and ingredients, and recently gave their chocolate bar packs a new lease of life. Now the packs communicate the story of the product and flavours while being distinctive in their category.
Or Cumbrian based bakery, Bells of Lazonby. The company have been baking cakes for 70 years and own the first purpose built free-from bakery in the UK. Their own brand of indulgent free-from cake slices, Bells & Whistles, wholly focuses on the positives and the flavours. As a result, their packaging has buckets of personality.
Although the free-from category is full of restrictions and limitations, there’s a real appetite for taste and creativity. Customers are looking for products that only use the very best, real ingredients to create permissible indulgence. They want to know about the benefits of the food they’re eating – not what they’re missing out on.
As a result, a number of small, agile companies are coming up with innovative products, which meet allergen-free requirements and provide nutritional benefits too.
Made with plants and nothing but plants, Freaks of Nature are shaking up the chilled aisle with their indulgent desserts. Their expressive visual identity showcases their creativity and passion. While curated colour palettes, quirky layouts and a confident tone of voice brings their unique personality to life.
Or The Coconut Collaborative with their coconut based free-from dairy yoghurts, ice creams and desserts. At the heart of the brand is a coconut tree that communicates their ethos of “everyone under one tree” and the illustrations on the pack strike out vividly from the products to connect with customers.
Consumers want packs of joy
When it comes to packaging, free-from shouldn’t mean dull, worthy or ‘brown’. Consumers of all types, from those who are following a strict free-from diet to those who are just ‘dabbling’ with free-from products are attracted to packaging design that has vibrant colours, personality, clear labelling and taste appeal.
Brilliant packaging design has the power to give life to new ideas, bring innovative products to the table, and transform the fortunes of brands. It’s only a matter of time before established brands adopt some of these trends in their look and feel.
Article by Amanda Jackson, Founder of Jackdaw Design.
Amanda Jackson is the founder of Jackdaw Design, an independent creative agency working with both innovative and established businesses.
Over her career she has worked with a range of successful food and beverage brands including Graze, Green & Black’s, Alpro, McVities and Cadbury.
Source: Jackdaw Design