Design, functionality and sustainability
Packaging design and branding in the food and beverage industry is one of the most important components of your sales and marketing plan. You need a great brand and your packaging needs to communicate the brand and your value proposition. This all needs to happen very quickly, in the available space, in two official languages (or maybe others too) and it needs to stand out in the category. Muna Lallas works hard to ensure the packaging and branding she designs do all of this and more. Muna is very focused on the sustainability requirement that is quickly becoming integral to food and beverage packaging.
Muna and I worked at Loblaw together where she was designing President’s Choice packaging and I was trying to figure out how to merchandise and sell it. She now works on her own from her office in Toronto. We had a great time walking the SIAL show in the spring. It is always important to walk these shows with different perspectives. Muna would see things I did not. We are excited to share some of her insights on branding and packaging design.
Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
Sustainability is no longer a nice to have, but a need to have for businesses looking to grow in the current and future marketplace.
Today, sustainability is top of mind for customers, consumers and governments with an urgent focus on reducing plastics packaging waste in our communities and oceans.
This urgency is creating momentum for packaging decision makers/brand owners to positively integrate sustainability into their product/brand stories as a means to drive sales and enhance brand equity.
Governments worldwide are implementing stricter regulations to address environmental and social issues. Brands that don't comply with these regulations could face legal penalties, operational disruptions, and negative publicity.
In support of EPR, Brand Owners and Retailers have independently stated goals to ensure packaging entering the new waste management streams will be fully recyclable.
Many companies have “planted their flag” on January 1, 2025 as the date that all packaging in their stores must be fully recyclable. Retailers such as Loblaws have made even stronger claims, stating that they won’t add any new products that aren’t recyclable after January 1 2024.
Sustainability isn't just a responsibility. It's a gateway to remarkable prospects.
Here’s a list of opportunities for your brand as you adopt sustainable solutions:
- Customer Loyalty
- Regulatory Compliance
- Product Life Cycle
- Investor Appeal
- Employee Engagement
- Customer Engagement
- Cost savings and more
You can integrate sustainability into your brand and packaging design. By ways of thinking of performance, functionality, usability, durability, comfort, and convenience.
Here are some examples of brands with great design and improved sustainabilty:
- Love Beauty and Planet by Unilever uses recyclable, lightweight, clear PET (with recycled content). The branding is enhanced by bottle transparency that creates an emotional connection with the product.
- Loop - a new system of high quality branded consumer product packages that can be returned and refilled many times over.
Here are 3 impact solutions your brand can focus on
You could enable your brand to offer more affordable products while ensuring fair
wages throughout your supply chain and contributing to local economies.
Your brand could help a community that needs support, make sure everyone works
in safe places in your supply chain, and promote gender equality in the work place.
Your brand could protect natural resources, switch waste streams through more
circular systems, clean up pollution, etc.
The company is dedicated to ensuring that no child labour or modern slavery is involved in any stage of its chocolate production.
Fair Pricing: Tony's Chocolonely pays cocoa farmers a higher price for their beans to promote sustainable farming practices and fair livelihoods.
Transparency: The company openly shares information about its supply chain and efforts to combat issues in the cocoa industry.
Collaboration: Tony's Chocolonely collaborates with other chocolate makers, governments, and NGOs to advocate for changes in the industryand to eliminate unethical practices.
Impact: The company seeks to inspire other chocolate makers and consumers to choose ethical chocolate, thus driving change across the entire industry.
They focused on the following:
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Clean Shipping
- Electric Ground Transportation
- A New Eco-friendly Plant
- Clean Packaging
Good Food for good
- BUY ONE FEED ONE
- CLEAN EATING
- Healthy Ingredients
- Feeding the hungry
- Plant Based products
A designer’s tips on how you can shift your brand/packaging towards sustainable solutions
1- Brand Strategy - Include SDG intitatives as part of your brand strategy
2- Design - Design Products which don’t create waste (production + use + end of use)
3- Materials - Can the current non renewable packaging material be replaced by a renewable sources.
4- Engineering / design: Can your packaging be reduced or optimized (packaging: product ratio)
5- User/Use: Is it possible to reuse and recycle your packaging?
6- Educate: Do you have the right messaging for recycling on your packaging?
7- Look at ways to help your community, and partner with a charitable organization
9- Be transparent with your business practice
10- Look for certifications, organic, Non GMO, B Corp, Fair Trade
I am Muna Lallas
My goal is simple: to elevate your brand, create an emotional connection with yourcustomer, and provide the resources you need to help you grow your brand.
I am passionate about creating a positive impact through brand strategy and design.
By refining your brand and integrating sustainable solutions, we contribute to a better world.
Let's work together to create for the future
Having grown up in the Middle East and London, Muna Lallas was heavily influenced by European package design and advertising. She has been working as a designer in the food and beverage industry for over 25 years, including 15 years as Art Director at Loblaws Brands, where her team routinely delivered over private label 2,000 SKU’s per year.
Muna founded Orange Keel Brand Strategy and Design in 2007. The company has been worked with many of Canada’s most innovative food and beverage brands. She brings together a team of top design talent for each project. Her vision is to lead Canada in the sustainability movement. It’s no longer about recycled paper and vegetable inks.
Whole Foods Market releases trends for 2024
Since Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market (WFM) I do believe the stores have evolved and lost some of their unique qualities. They just seem a bit more like the less exciting offering across the street. We don’t see the P&L so perhaps these changes have improved the bottom line. When WFM was independent I used to marvel at the merchandising but also try to figure out how they could afford it. Obviously the prices are higher to absorb more shrink but the waste had to be counter to the WFM philosophy. Food waste had to be higher in those stores.
One of the benefits of being part of a data rich business like Amazon is we benefit when they analyze their sales and share trends with the industry. If you are in the good for you, premium space these trends should help determine where you go in the future. Look at what some of the brands are doing they include here and if you fit into one of these trends perhaps you have a space waiting for your product at WFM.
Where is Peter Speaking?
We have been working hard to put together a new video to promote the work we do speaking at conferences and events. Hope you enjoy the video!