Nutella employed an algorithm to design its packaging

Nutella’s manufacturer Ferrero partnered with its advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia to devise a plan to get people to buy more Nutella. Their idea? Have an algorithm design the packaging. The company provided the software with a database of patterns and colors that Ferrero felt fit with the hazelnut spread brand. It then created 7 million unique jars that were sold throughout Italy.

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Product designers ‘must reduce Pringles factor’ to boost recycling

Product designers need to retreat from “the Pringles factor” in order to make their packaging more recyclable, an environmental expert has said.

Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents recyclers, pointed to the snack tube as a prime example of the failure to consider recycling in design – and listed a range of other offenders from Lucozade Sport drinks to whisky packaging.

He spoke as round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur launched a $2m (£1.5m) competition to reduce plastic waste and target the 30% of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled because of the way it is constructed.

Straws, shampoo sachets, crisp packets, coffee cup lids and food wrappers were all picked out by MacArthur as products that either could not be recycled because of the multiple layers of materials used, or were not traditionally recycled.

Ellin said the biggest problems came when multiple materials were used in the same packaging. In the case of Pringles, Ellin said: “What idiot designed this in terms of recyclability? We’ve got a cardboard tube, a metal bottom, a plastic lid.

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Swedish supermarkets replace sticky labels with laser marking

 

The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions. In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial to replace sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. M&S are also using it on coconuts in the UK. Dubbed “natural branding”, the technique uses a strong light to remove pigment from the skin of produce. The mark is invisible once skin is removed and doesn’t affect shelf life or eating quality.

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Swedish supermarkets replace sticky labels with laser marking

 

The humble fruit sticker may seem an unlikely cause for environmental concern but removing it from produce could create huge savings in plastic, energy and CO2 emissions. In response to consumer demand for less packaging, Dutch fruit and veg supplier Nature & More and Swedish supermarket ICA have joined forces to run a trial to replace sticky labels on organic avocados and sweet potatoes with a laser mark. M&S are also using it on coconuts in the UK. Dubbed “natural branding”, the technique uses a strong light to remove pigment from the skin of produce. The mark is invisible once skin is removed and doesn’t affect shelf life or eating quality.

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How big tobacco lost its final fight for hearts, lungs and minds

 

Tobacco companies lost an appeal against government plans to force them all to use generic packaging with health warnings on the side. They said it was effectively theft of intellectual property so if nothing else, they should be compensated (their barrister even used the argument that slave owners were compensated when slavery was abolished – idiotic).

One of their key arguments, trotted out 15 years or so ago when cigarette advertising was banned, was that these things don’t have any effect on consumption. But as Jamie Doward notes in The Observer (my italics):

As a cigarette packet designer, John Digianni, explains in an interview on the tobacco industry website Tobacco Today: “A cigarette package is part of a smoker’s clothing, and when he saunters into a bar and plunks it down, he makes a statement about himself. When a user displays a badge product, this is witnessed by others, providing a living testimonial endorsement of the user on behalf of that brand and product.”

Boring old packaging, it transpires, is not so boring after all.

The court was shown what seemed to be a normal pack of Benson & Hedges cigarettes that went on sale in 2006. To open the pack, the consumer needed to slide a tray containing the cigarettes out of its side. Printed on the tray was an aphorism attributed to GK Chesterton: “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice and then going away and doing the exact opposite.” Japan Tobacco International, owner of the Benson & Hedges brand in the UK, credited the packaging innovation with a near 47% year-on-year rise in sales.

Cigarette manufacturers acknowledge that such innovations boost sales among adults. However, they vigorously deny their products are targeted at young people. Yet the court was shown clear evidence of how even very young children can be drawn to cigarette packaging. A video made by Cancer UK, in which young children discussed the look of various packs, brought home the point forcefully. One girl, around six or seven years of age, was delighted with the pink packaging of a particular brand. “It’s actually quite pretty,” she said excitedly. A young boy described a yellow pack as “fun” and declared: “It makes you feel almost happy by looking at it.”

It is hard to see children of a similar age enthusing about the new-look packets – drab cartons adorned with gruesome images of people with smoking-related diseases.

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Warning: this article could radically alter the way you eat

Much of Spence and his colleagues’ findings make instinctive sense, such as that messily plated food doesn’t taste as good as if it’s neatly or artistically arranged. And much of this body of knowledge has been appropriated by Big Food to manipulate consumers since the 1930s, when 7-Up marketeers already knew that the more yellow on the can, the more citrus the drink would taste. Or that roundness (whether it’s the product or the logo) tastes sweeter while pointy is bitter.

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Warning: this article could radically alter the way you eat

Much of Spence and his colleagues’ findings make instinctive sense, such as that messily plated food doesn’t taste as good as if it’s neatly or artistically arranged. And much of this body of knowledge has been appropriated by Big Food to manipulate consumers since the 1930s, when 7-Up marketeers already knew that the more yellow on the can, the more citrus the drink would taste. Or that roundness (whether it’s the product or the logo) tastes sweeter while pointy is bitter.

Read the full story here

Warning: this article could radically alter the way you eat

Much of Spence and his colleagues’ findings make instinctive sense, such as that messily plated food doesn’t taste as good as if it’s neatly or artistically arranged. And much of this body of knowledge has been appropriated by Big Food to manipulate consumers since the 1930s, when 7-Up marketeers already knew that the more yellow on the can, the more citrus the drink would taste. Or that roundness (whether it’s the product or the logo) tastes sweeter while pointy is bitter.

Read the full story here

Why the language on food packaging makes me sick

ecently, a Finnish manufacturer of meatballs was told its meatballs didn’t contain enough actual meat to qualify as meatballs. So now it says on the packet simply: “Balls”. One might agree that the mechanically recovered slop that is the main ingredient of these balls should not be called “meat”. But if advertising authorities banned all inaccurate, arguable or just plain ridiculous language on food packets, our nosh would have to be wrapped, as cigarettes soon will be, in completely blank packaging.

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