Packaging With a Heart and Sense of Humor

One route to artisanal and luxury products are packages with pleasure, warmth and fun.

By Kate Bertrand Connolly, Packaging Editor

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“We refer to that as ‘tongue-in-cheek sophistication,’ ” Saari says. “The artwork is a little serious without that pig nose. But we put that little nose on him, and suddenly it’s a lot more light and fun.” The snout, together with the predominance of the word “bacon” in the brand mark, also conveys what the product is: a confection made with bacon.

Using an archival image of Sir Francis Bacon also reinforces the product’s upscale quality. “There’s a hand-craftedness to [the portrait] and … a sort of new-Old World feel,” Saari says. “Those cues put us in the right zone in terms of quality.”

Package structures for the brittle and toffee bars are straightforward. For both sizes of brittle (3 oz. and 8 oz.), the confection is hand-packed in a plastic bag, which is then heat sealed and placed on a bed of crinkle paper inside a paperboard box. A paper label with package graphics is used to seal the box.

The toffee bars, which weigh 3 oz., are placed in a foil pouch and then packed in a printed box.

Unbleached kraft paper is used for the boxes and crinkle paper, giving the packaging a down-to-earth sensibility. “It’s important that the natural design and natural feel of the product comes through for this particular audience,” says Coyle.

“Packaging is the predecessor to any sale,” he adds. “Without it, you don’t get people excited or energized about what you’re offering.”

‘Playful and tasty’

The natural approach, with a dollop of fun, is also the focus at Jen & Joe’s Cookie Dough, Los Angeles. The company recently redesigned the packaging for its gourmet, ready-to-bake cookie dough, which is sold frozen.

For packaging, the company uses a flow-wrapped paperboard tray inside a paperboard carton. Each carton contains 12 dough balls, and fill weight is 12 oz. The new packaging is set to roll out in September.

Jen & Joe’s Cookie Dough comes in six flavors: Chocolate Chunk, Snickerdoodle, Oatmeal Toffee, White Chocolate Wasabi, Lemon Drop and Chocolate Spice. High-quality ingredients are a point of pride for the company, which touts its use of real eggs and butter and the absence of artificial colors, flavors, additives and preservatives.

That’s significant, because on the new packaging all the ingredients are listed prominently on the carton’s front panel. The FDA nutrition panel, with extended information for enriched flour and complex ingredients like prepared horseradish and white chocolate, appears on the back of the carton along with allergy warnings.

“We know that the words ‘all natural’ … have become meaningless,” says President Jen Laska. "We didn’t want to put words on the package that the consumer doesn’t trust anymore.”

She adds, “What’s the first thing [consumers do] when they see claims on the front of a package? They pick it up and turn the package over to see what’s in the ingredients list. So I thought, why don’t we give them everything they need to know upfront? I have nothing to hide in this cookie dough, so let’s show them that everything they want to see is right there on the front.”

The packaging for Jen & Joe’s products also has a lighter side. It features vibrant colors, an uncluttered design and a playful attitude, including the image of a cookie with a mouth-shaped bite taken out of it. Hull + Honeycutt Marketing and Design Inc., Sacramento, Calif., created the package graphics.

“The flavors are gourmet, but we don’t want it to look stuffy,” Laska says. “We want it to be fun and playful,” as well as colorful, “because children and adults alike appreciate color.” The bright colors of the cartons are coded to the various cookie flavors.

“I put wasabi in a cookie — I can’t take myself too seriously,” Laska adds. “We keep it playful and tasty.”

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