Organic food continues to grow in popularity on the back of food safety concerns and major marketing drives from producers and retailers alike.
But the organic food industry now needs to ensure that this popularity continues by rethinking its packaging, according to brand consultants Flamingo International, speaking at a conference held as part of the Natural Products and Organic Products show at London's Olympia.
Flamingo's project director Sarah Castell and senior research executive Max Leefe deconstructed the packaging and communication of Yeo Valley Organic's dairy range and Green and Black's chocolate products to illustrate the huge opportunity organic brands have to create entirely new kinds of emotional benefits for consumers, and forge unique connections with their target markets.
"Yeo Valley Organic's new packaging, which is appearing in shops now, shows the way ahead," said Leefe. "The white space, sharpness and clarity around the familiar natural meadow still suggest naturalness and growth, but in a much more streamlined and abstracted way."
He continued: "It's not a quirky local brand any more but a credible organic authority. The tick that is now a major feature of the pack designs signals authority but also energy; a sophisticated brand benefit which can be easily taken out by consumers."
Not surprisingly, Yeo Valley was pleased with the endorsement of its recently introduced pack design. Ben Cull, marketing director, said: "The 'natural' look that many organic companies adopted at the start is now too worthy for the mass market. What the majority of consumers want are additive-free, organic products which look like those that they normally buy, but that taste better, cleaner, and more natural. That's what we are offering and it's what we are trying to present with our new look packaging."
Flamingo was also full of praise for the "21st century luxury" evoked by Green & Black's advertising and packaging. "The brand's print advertising reconnects consumers with something they knew was pleasurable, but had forgotten in the hurly-burly of modern life," said Castell. "The brand takes ownership of that moment where you centre yourself again; which is a very aspirational mindset for people today, and so a great place for a brand to be."
"Initiatives like the Natural and Organic Products show help us build our profile as one of the more forward-thinking brands," said Mark Palmer, marketing director for Green & Black's.