Beautifully Beneficial

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DESIGN TRENDS FOR HEALTHY CONVENIENCE OPTIONS IN FOOD & BEVERAGE

Sophie Maxwell

BEAUTIFULLY BENEFICIAL Pearlfisher FeatureOur increasingly busy, modern lives mean that convenience is more relevant and important than ever. A 24/7 society has demanded functional solutions - and ready meals and takeaway packaging in the food and drink sector have largely led the design evolution across all other categories.

But convenience is seemingly no longer enough. And we are once again looking to this industry to take things one stage further – to provide us with healthy convenience options and multi-functional products. And whilst we want these new solutions to continue to do us good, we also want them to set the bar for aesthetics.

Today’s consumer has a creative eye. We do, of course, still need specific, functional and informative communication. But this needs to now be balanced with a more holistic, emotional and inspirational brand territory wrapped up in an aspirational brand identity.

It’s about capturing and creating moments of pleasure that bring taste, health and convenience together...this is where the health entrepreneurs (Innocent, Raw, Graze) have blazed a trail but one which brands now need to try and emulate in their own style with a new and more empowering and desirable visual and written language.

It’s about inspirational – but prescriptive – words and pictures that mean something to each and every individual and communicate pleasure and liberation rather than restriction and deprivation.

Whilst health drinks are nothing new, we are seeing an evolution in the design communication of this sector and this may well be the deciding factor when faced with too much choice by providing a unique and concentrated consumer experience to focus, engage and inspire us.

ACTIVATE is the original vitamin water brand that uses a unique twist cap to dispense vitamins and natural extracts into the water. Recently relaunched with a new look, the design aesthetic features coloured shapes that merge on the pack to suggest an efficacious combination of vitamins and water. Vibrant colour variations are used to differentiate flavours and taste, along with abstract, brand-appropriate fruit shaped icons.

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And not new but still immensely noteworthy in terms of approach is sports hydration drink Nuun –still trailblazing when it comes to the adoption of a bold creativity. Creature Advertising created a bespoke typeface for the new Nuun logo, designed to be distinctive, clear, yet individual. The logo takes pride of place across Nuun’s signature tube packaging in a variety of contrasting and complementary colours. Content instructions are also brought to life using graphic elements, alongside the Nuun strapline ‘One Up Your Water.’

Steve Cullen, design director at Creature said: “Nuun has the guts to make a 180-degree departure from how the category does things.” (Source: www.thedieline.com) And meal replacements in the form of drinks are part of a growing sector that provides a fast solution for health- conscious consumers on the go.

Oat Works is the only oat-based drink in the United States that contains PromOat, an innovative, natural, beta glucan ingredient from Sweden that enables the benefits of oats to be incorporated into a beverage in a water-soluble form. Drinking an Oat Works smoothie provides consumers with a nutritious and wholesome meal replacement that can be enjoyed on the go, and is also perfect for a healthy heart, a healthy digestive system and sustained energy.

Pearlfisher created the brand identity and design strategy and Tess Wicksteed, Strategy Director at Pearlfisher comments, "Our task was to take oats to the next level, showing that Oat Works delivers all of the benefits but none of the bores. The design moves away from current oat cliches, using bold, rich and modern typography. We have communicated the smoothness and taste of Oat Works through vibrant fruity colors and icons that reflect flavor. A future focused design for next generation oats!"

And CHOXI + - the anti-oxidant chocolate bar - is a lovely brand to mention for balancing function with desirability. The ‘positive indulgence’ strapline perfectly sums this up whilst the design seamlessly embraces the traditional premium chocolate cues with a unique and distinguished fleur-de-lys pattern motif; another premium signifier.

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Sticking with the power of antioxidants, most of us are converts to the health benefits of Olive Oil. But Wellness Works is increasing the offer with the launch of their new – and anti-oxidant infused Olive Oil brand – Secret To Live.

Does Olive Oil need added antioxidants? It doesn’t really matter. The naming, bottle structure and packaging design work together perfectly to seduce the discerning, health conscious and style-driven consumer. The box in which the bottle is sold is printed in an immaculate white with minimal text and a bold pair of rounded gold lobes – representative of the olive - that meet on either side of one crease. When viewed obliquely or when two cartons are positioned adjacent to one another, you can make out the shape of a heart: visualising the active health benefits of the product.

The super-health, multi-functional product market will continue to grow and – where it has been dominated with drinks – in the future, the food sector may well overtake in terms of innovation. Easy products like chewing gum and sweets are already flooding the market with vitamin enhanced variants.

BEAUTIFULLY BENEFICIAL Pearlfisher FeatureAnd, just as where we started with the ready meal, in the distant future our entire meal system may well be enhanced to provide the nutrients of three different meals but in a whole new – but more premium- way in terms of composition and communication.

A ‘fast’ solution but with the appearance and benefit of real and ‘slow’ cooked food. Convenience and multi-functionality is about giving us the brand in the hand.

And whilst functional structural solutions are still important, the future of convenience equals seduction and this is where all the elements of the packaging design – including clever structure - have the scope to tell, or at least tease out, the story of the brand experience by focusing us on the texture, look and delivery of what we are buying, using and eating.

But, it’s more than this. It’s also about keeping our super-health and multi-functional brands and products covetable and collectable.

By taking a more holistically creative approach, we should be able to provide a unique and targeted consumer experience or connection time and time again. Convenience does not need to be about brevity and can most definitely be about long-term desirability.

As we move into the future, we are redefining convenience and need to use design to find new and creative ways to deliver something disproportionate to the expectation: moving from pure convenience to connection, commitment and creativity.

PEARLFISHER Food Revolution Day

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Email Sophie Maxwell - Insight Director at Pearlfisher