Wellness, self-care, a healthy lifestyle – these ideas have become more and more important to consumers in recent years. As brands adapt their products, or create new ones, to feed this desire for better food choices, packaging design is being impacted too.
Convenience is a major driver in new healthy food packaging design. Eating habits are changing, people are working longer or are on the go more, and this has resulted in an increase in snacking. Traditionally healthy food packaging has made use of colours that evoke nature, such as greens and browns. This is to subconsciously make customers think that the product is better for them than others.
Increasingly though, designers are making use of bright and engaging packaging for healthy food products. This is to draw customers in and encourage them to try something different. It’s also important for healthy food packaging to be able to hold its own against other options, particularly in the snack and on-the-go segment. Fun designs can help to attract customers away from the products and brands they’re familiar with.
Nourish Snacks is one company embracing this approach having redesigned its entire range so it looks less like your traditional healthy food options and more at home in the crisp or biscuit aisle. The design aims to put the taste of the product front-and-centre, even above and beyond its health benefits.
When it comes to healthier snack options, customers may be keener than usual to actually see the product they’re buying. This means that see-through packaging has long been prominent in the sector. Despite this innovation is still happening.
UK supermarket chain Tesco recently tweaked the packaging for its avocados to increase shelf life by two days. Although it looks like your standard plastic packaging, it shows that material developments can help reduce waste. It also makes it easier for customers to make healthy choices in their snacking as they can buy ahead of time and keep for when they need it.
Portion control is another factor influencing healthy food packaging design. Some products, such as nuts, aren’t as good for you if eaten in large quantities. Graze is one brand well-known for its array of pre-portioned healthier snacking options.
The company started out with a subscription box offering, with customer receiving four individually portioned snacks with each order, but now has also moved into retail. Here it retains the same design aesthetic with the product in a clear tray surrounded by a brown kraft sleeve. The bonus is that customer can actually see the product through a window, which gives them confidence that what they’re buying is appetising.
Sharing size, or multi-portion, bags are also an important part of the sector. In order to help consumers manage their portion size, a lot of sharing packaging designs are resealable via a sticker or strip. One consideration is how the packaging will look once it’s been opened and then resealed. Does it obscure key information? Is the product still recognisable?
Another major influencer is authenticity. Brand heritage and knowing what ingredients are and where they come from is particularly important in the healthy food sector. Companies are looking for ways to tell this story in an immediate way through packaging design – whether it’s using images of natural ingredients, information on the people producing it or why it’s good for you.
As the trend towards healthier living continues, the need for healthy snack packaging to capture the attention of consumers is growing. With so much choice out there, designers need to combine the traits of traditional snack design with health indicators to see success.
By Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, London.