Guilherme JardinF&B branding in European Crisis | 0 Comments
A PERSONAL INSIGHT INTO HOW PACKAGING CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE SUCCESS OF F&B BRANDS DURING THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
I decided to write this article about the idea of how packaging is important when it comes to increasing the competitiveness of the South European F&B brands currently struggling with the European crisis.
My packaging design studio is based in Portugal so I see the effects of the European crisis every day – even the worst possible scenarios. People are struggling every day, young people do not have good perspective about their future and we are currently taking the risk of losing the most educated generation we ever had to other rich countries like Germany, UK or those in the BRIC.
I am not an economist neither a politician. I actually find those occupations rather boring. I prefer to live in a world where people are humans; not statistics.
In this article I am going to give my opinion about the importance of the Food and Beverage industry in the current climate and how jobs and a generation of wealth can be achieved through better packaging design – in essence how we can create a difference in a competitive industry.
My reasoning is based on empirical knowledge as well as what I see every day. Also, what I see as barriers to innovation and sales. In countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain or Italy you can source some of the most exciting F&B products in the world. You can find outstanding wines, extra virgin olive oils and vast array of high quality food products. But why is it that the small companies producing this fine produce cannot find their place in the worldwide market? Why are they struggling against larger competitors and are unable to export?
My answer is very clear: They are afraid of change and innovation – they do not believe that design adds value to their brands. Our F&B industry peaked centuries ago. For example, did you know that Portugal produces possibly the best cherry liqueurs in the world? Of course not. Because when it comes to branding and marketing, their mentality is still in the sixties.
Do you dress as your grandparents did? Then why would your brand be "dressed" the same as it was during your grandparent’s time? I always say, let's respect the past whilst focusing on the future.
Being totally honest, around 90% of my jobs come from US, Brazil, Russia or Asia. Why is that? I come from a country that has produced wine since its very foundation and which is host to some of the best F&B products in the world. I should be buried in work coming from small producers aiming to compete in an international market and develop their businesses. But there is a lack of vision from our farmers and other players in the Industry.
I see wine brands from Bulgaria, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and other countries investing a lot in their packaging; also Asian brands creating really cutting edge packaging designs to internationalize their products. Why don't the companies from my homeland do the same? I know some people are trying to be innovative but there are very few.
It is very important to understand how design is integral to a brand’s success. The business who do understand the role of packaging are already exporting to different parts of the planet, expanding their businesses and generating new jobs as a result. People need to understand that packaging is the first means of communicating your brand's values and characteristics.
Packaging is the first touchable experience the customers have with a brand – it creates desire, it is the most effective way to gain people's attention, to make them want your product and buy it. After the quality of the product itself, packaging is the most important thing for a brand become competitive.
I am fighting everyday to make people understand that good packaging means a fast returning investment. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy have outstanding F&B products. The F&B industry can play an important role in the fight against the recession and the lack of jobs. Packaging can absolutely be an important tool in the box. Our industry needs to be fearless and leave those ancient egos in the locker. Companies need to understand that creativity adds value, generates difference and consequently open ups opportunities.
I am absolutely conscious that packaging design can play a very important role on the increment of a country’s competitiveness. Unfortunately I am also conscious that we take the risk of losing some F&B products because we didn't know how to market them. It is time to improve the quality of our F&B products with effective packaging design.