28Feb

Food Packaging 2020: 4 Ways To Expertly Design Food Packaging

By Ian Segail | Blog | 28 Feb 2020 |

What makes a food package design stand out?

There are so many aspects that go into the creation and sale of a new food product, so it’s no surprise that one of the most important elements is easy to overlook: the packaging.

A food’s packaging has to keep food fresh and safe from contamination, protect it during delivery and storage on shelves, and also, perhaps its biggest challenge, convince shoppers to pick it up.

You need to have packaging that blends the science of protecting food with the art and design of marketing it.

According to one study, a shopper makes their choice of whether to spend any time looking at a product in a mere sixth of a second. People are busy, and grocery shopping is a chore that they’re looking to get done as quickly as possible.

That means that your products don’t have a lot of time to win them over.

But here’s the flipside to that study: A different study reports that if a shopper actually picks up a product that’s new to them to examine it more closely, it is far more likely that they will end up purchasing that product rather than placing it back on the shelf.

Hypnosis trainer Carol Mollica offers a unique insight into the subconscious mind and how it impacts purchasing decisions. Showing why labels should be more than an afterthought, but actually a way to impact buyer behaviour.

She explains that “humans subconsciously make decisions based on the potential release of dopamine or not. In the case of shopping, buying a new product will almost always release dopamine into the brain, so customers are more likely to buy a product if the label triggers feelings of positivity, joy and longing.”

Even people who carefully plot out their shopping list before heading to the store are susceptible to impulse buying. Once the brain has been pulled in enough to look more carefully at something, it is bound to want to complete that purchase.

Let’s take a closer look at 4 ways to design beautiful AND functional packaging in 2020.

1) What Packaging Tells Consumers

From a young age, consumers have been taught to get excited by the way certain products are packaged. In fact, if anything, this sort of excitement has only grown throughout the years, as the very act of unboxing something has become something that people embrace as a reward in and of itself.

Now that “unboxing” hype may apply more to expensive toys and electronics than, say, a frozen pizza, but part of the challenge of food packaging design is to try to capture some of that magic.

The first job of your packaging is to get across branding. You want a customer to be able to tell what the idea behind your product is from a quick and simple glance. As an example, consider what runs through your mind when you look at the simple, sleek packaging of Apple products.

Just by looking at it, it sends a message of being an elegant and exclusive product. Again, though food products have a different point to get across, they should aim to do so via their packaging in the same way.

Another important goal of food packaging is to communicate the values of a brand. This can include things such as connections to social causes, charities that the brand donates to, or a focus on sustainability. This can help pull in a specific target of shoppers who strongly care for that same value.

Prototyping, designing and creating packaging is challenging to do, especially if you aren’t an expert or are doing it all by yourself.

Using design experts such as Jam and Co can help you create new packaging or optimise current packaging to appeal to your target audience.

2) What Exciting Food Packaging Must Accomplish

Here are six key things that the best food packaging does:

  • Draws attention from shoppers
  • Communicates the purpose of the product
  • Brings positive emotions
  • Becomes iconic or recognisable
  • Showcases the benefits of using the product
  • Draws in a target audience


To balance all of these goals, those designing the package must apply a delicate mix of the science of psychology and the art of marketing. They must effectively draw customers in with packaging that looks good while also leaving them confident that the food is clean, healthy, and fresh.

The wellness experts at Expect Me state that “people are becoming far more aware of the health of themselves and others as time goes on. They are actively looking for products that could help create a better version of themselves, so having products that showcase this is incredibly important”.

Making packaging recyclable is also both good for the environment and a great way to pull in more consumers.

3) What’s New In Packaging

New technology affects everything, and food packaging is no different. Some of the latest advances in packaging technology have allowed for packages that convey more health, ingredient, and safety information to shoppers, as well as increasing how long shelved food is good for.

In addition, there have been innovations in the world of printing and inkwork that allow brands to build more exciting, beautiful packages that stick out on store shelves.

4) Simplifying Packages

product packaging

While you want your packaging to be exciting to look at, you also don’t want it to be unnecessarily complicated. You don’t want to make consumers have to think about how to open something or how to fit it into their pantries at home.

Likewise, you don’t want stores having to worry about where to find space for an awkwardly shaped product. Instead, try to focus on familiar shapes that work well for stacking and stocking shelves with as many as possible.

Looking for some help creating or optimising your designs? Check out Jam & Co to begin your packaging journey.

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