Can packaging persuade you to eat more insects, bugs and creepy-crawlers?

Now that’s an interesting question. I would say yes it can and if you throw in a better word for these creatures you will increase your chances to build a market.

In a FAO report from last year it’s made clear that we need to get used to the idea of getting protein and nutrition from insects. As a matter of fact crickets have more vitamins and minerals and as much protein as chicken. And that with a much smaller carbon footprint. Not bad.

This sounds great but is still in most consumers eyes, appalling. It is however estimated that as many as 2 billion people are already into the habit of eating insects. The challenge is to get a foothold with insect based food on the markets in the developed world.  There are a few brave suppliers but without a general distribution it’s hard. To build up the demand I think you need to leave the packaging design often used today. That is with illustrations of what’s inside. A picture is worth a thousand words… so be careful with the message.



I think that the best example I have seen so far, from a packaging point of view, is what they are doing at SexyFood i Paris. They are using the good old food can but smarting it up with a label that communicates luxury and gourmet food. Black is the colour and some gold added for effect. No illustrations of the worms, crickets and bugs you will find inside. They are even playing down the content by naming their products with numbers rather than names. Stewed worms with added cockroach or number 9. Which sounds better?

I don’t think their products yet has made a big difference but they do show the way when it comes to packaging design. Use the power of packaging, but aim before firing.




“Pretty” is appealing, it’s proven

I always thought I knew it but now I can relax and enjoy the confirming results from a study made by the University of Calgary. The study concludes that children prefer the taste of foods in pretty and decorative packaging and also that packaging design play an even stronger role than product branding.

SupermarketThe study was about examining the effects of branding and packaging on young children’s taste preferences. Young children got to taste identical foods in either branded packaging (strong brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks), in plain or in colourful but unbranded packaging. The kids were then asked if the foods tasted the same or if one tasted better.

The results are clear, children preferred the taste of foods wrapped in colourful and decorative wrappings, relying more on design than on familiar branding when making their choices. The findings challenge established commercial advertising and brand promotion on television and other media platforms.

The study concludes that “More attention should be directed at the important role of packaging in directing children’s food preferences.” But I would like to extend the findings to include us all. We do rely on all our senses when we make that choice in the supermarket aisles. We make our decision and a pretty and alluring pack design will support it.

It is time to make room for the packaging dimension of the product proposition in the brand owner’s mind sets and budgets to survive and grow their market shares.

Of course packaging functionality and quality of product etc. are important but that is for next step, repeat purchase.