There are loads of textbook examples describing successful brand extensions. I would say that the Virgin enterprises of today will serve as a good example of a successful branching out from the original Virgin branded vinyl recordings. Coca-Cola famously extended the brand to include also Diet Coke in 1982 and IKEA is also the number one Swedish exporter of food products.
Artist and designer Peddy Mergui takes the concept of brand extension further than this and to a new level. In an amazing, challenging and also made up series of cleverly designed packaging solutions for famous brands. Famous brands that today are active far away from the here suggested categories.
In a design museum in San Francisco the entire line of exciting and thought provoking packaging was displayed. Peddy gives us his view of what milk from Apple would look like, or a salami from Louis Vuitton and how yogurt from Tiffany could be packed. If you ever wondered what pickles by Gucci would look like, go to the exhibition web site.
A brand is expressed through its packaging and this artist will support us thinking out of the box and straight into the container.
The latest in edible packaging I think is the “water blob” from Ooho. A compound made from brown algae and calcium chloride creates a portion package or a gel sphere around a mouthful of water. A drip sip. It is cool, innovative and thought provoking right out of the bottle. Just swig a blob when dry.
A similar solution comes from Wikipearl who promise to enfold both food and beverages in bite-sized and portable spheres or blobs. All ready for on-the-go eating or drinking. It is just as cool and pioneering as Ooho. Wikipearl is one step ahead and will soon go commercial at selected Whole Foods. I am interested to see how they solve the obvious secondary packaging challenge. You will always need some kind of protective packaging around the fragile balls of liquid to avoid flooded glove compartments and handbags.
The Ooho team are even encouraging consumers to make their own edible packaging blobs. Instructions are provided and we can all make our own packaging-free portable picnic.
If you combine this with the idea of 3D printing of food we can all be independent producing consumers.
3D printing has changed the world as we knew it and is said to spark the third industrial revolution. When a 3D printer for home use is available for less than $1000 it won’t take long before it becomes mainstream. Which is both fun and inspiring.
But what is more interesting than fun, at least for the moment, is 3D printing of food. Yes you can seriously print food, layer on layer. Not for home use yet though. The need originates from the question, “How to feed an astronaut on his way to Pluto?” Apparently there is now printable food stuff available with a best before date somewhere around 2044 or just after you are safely back again from outer space.
At present the main reason for printing food is the Star Trekiness and the coolness factor. But there are a few things speaking for this technology of printing food products. I am not saying home-printing is around the corner but the technology does enable us to use ingredients such as proteins from algae, beet leaves, or even insects. With a growing global population to feed this could be one of the answers we are looking for.
It is also a way to truly personalise food. If you are sensitive to certain ingredients you can design and make your own food with your own formula. Great for people with allergies and similar.
The convenience factor, that offers food made at exactly the right moment in time. You set the machine for dinner and activate the thing with an app as you leave work and upon arrival you have a freshly printed steak. All you have to do now is to ask your local grocer to fax you a bottle of wine.
Printing your own food will give you and your favourite restaurant an enormous freedom to design both shape and content. Apart from the technical challenges there are a few cultural as well. Are we ready for printed provisions? You could probably survive on a daily pill of concentrated nutrition but we don’t want to do that. This is different but still far away from the main stream.
So, what has this got to do with packaging? Well, nothing much but it is still intriguing.
There is a list for everything and in particular when we enter a new year… Here is a list ranking the 10 smartest cities in Europe.
This is actually interesting because they are looking for innovative and entrepreneurial places. And here comes Copenhagen and grabs the front seat. The place is environmentally relatively sound and scores high marks with lots of bike activity. It is indeed an innovative and entrepreneurial area especially when you expand the reach to the Copenhagen-Malmö area.
We have a very strong representation of packaging industry in this region and of the food/beverage industries too. This is for historical reasons and an result of innovative and entrepreneurial people and organisations. The world’s largest consumer packaging supplier Tetra Pak for instance was born in the region. On the Swedish side, where it still is based. Many ground breaking packaging solutions have been created in the region and it is busy still.
The Öresund area is still a very active and innovative region for packaging and packaging related industry with a healthy mix of SME’s and large corporations. It was a pleasant surprise that it was the top place to be in Europe.
Whole Foods Market in London is a great place to visit to pick up some quality organic food and beverages. It is also a place for spotting new trendy products and also innovative packaging solutions.
This is an however an example of the opposite. Beer sold “loose”… A variety of the Bring Your Own concept but in this case, bring your own keg. This is not a trend but more an interesting fact and a way for a micro brewery to get a bit of attention.
It might give the consumer a nice brew, but the one who washes up the keg is you.
These people are taking the art of in-store attention grabbing to a new level. This is creative use of packaging.
On an afternoon stroll in London’s Camden Market I came across a colourful market stand promoting bags made of used packaging. I stopped by and got to speak to the man behind the idea of TrashyBags. TrashyBags is an initiative to do something of the situation in Ghana where the infrastructure to recycle used packaging is lacking. And they sure do, TrashyBags employs 60 people in Ghana who collect waste that can be used for making bags, backpacks and other useful things.
They collect and encourage the public to collect mainly plastic pouches and sachets that they wash and sterilise and turn into useful bags etc. Very creative and meaningful and does help the litter problem as well as it provides meaningful job opportunities. www.trashybags.org