We recently called for food packaging questions in our Foodboro newsletter, and readers delivered! In this post, we’re spotlighting one great inquiry from Foodboro member Superfrau. Branding and food packaging design experts Jobin Design have the answer, and they delve into how to make smart packaging choices from day 1.

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We recently launched a fresh whey product in clear packaging (you can see the labels on our site linked below). During our many months of testing before launch, we didn’t realize that the LED lights in most grocery store refrigerators would impact the quality of our product. We learned within weeks of our launch that the drink contained off flavors due to light contamination.

I’m wondering if Jobin Design has any ideas for how to solve for this. Do we need an HDPE/opaque bottle? Would opaque shrink wrap solve the problem (keeping our clear, 100% recyclable bottles)? Does the shrink wrap have to cover the entire bottle in order to truly protect the contents? Are there other ways to solve for this without modifying our label / packaging (which we love) too much?

– Melissa Martinelli, Superfrau


Jobin Design Says:

Unfortunately, this is a situation that will likely require lots of trial and error testing to arrive at a solution. Our advice would be to gather samples of opaque bottles and various sized shrink sleeves to fit your current bottle, and then do more testing.

There are light blocking shrink films that can be applied to your bottle to protect your product; however, you will need test it out to make sure that your product can withstand the heat tunnel process where the sleeve is applied to the bottle. Your shrink wrap does not always need to cover the entire bottle, but we will not know how it affects your product until you do another round of testing.

Once you find which container option works best at protecting your product without destroying your bottom line, you can move onto whether you need to modify your label to accommodate the packaging change.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing your food packaging. Generally, brands and their designers should start by reviewing the following 4 factors: product security, budget, ease of use, and aesthetics.

How will the packaging protect your product?

Determine what packaging materials are ideal for your product’s freshness and protection. Is your package tamper resistant? Does it keep you food from spoiling too soon? Does it prevent your product from being damaged or crushed? Consider any external influences (chemical, biological, physical) that may affect your product from the time it leaves your facility to the time it is consumed.

What is your budget?

It is important to choose a packaging material, packing process, and shipping mode that works within your budget. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can sometimes save money by using standard sizes. Most packaging vendors will have a list of standard sized packages, to which you can add your own design. This option saves time and money in the design and production phases.

How will your product fit into the lives of your consumer?

Does it have user-friendly features that will enhance the user experience? For example, if you’re creating a snack food, your packaging should be lightweight and easy to hold. If you’re creating a multi-serving package, you may want to consider resealable packaging to keep your product fresh in-between uses.

Do the materials and aesthetic appeal to your target market?

Whether it’s on social media or in the store, your food packaging is often a consumer’s first impression of your product. A strong brand identity and package design will stand out and attract the proper consumers by communicating information about your product in a clean and straightforward way. To help establish an emotional connection between your brand and your consumer, the design and packaging materials should convey that your brand philosophies and practices align with those of your target market.

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