Eating & Drinking Out-of-the-Box
There’s definitely something interesting happening in food packaging these days.
One thing I noticed around the holidays was a lot more boxed wine. Wine in a box was the purview of budget brands . . . but no longer. You can still buy budget wine by the box but the market is seeing an increasing number of high-quality wines in attractive cardboard containers.
The driver is convenience and adaptability. Today’s paper-based containers boast being sturdy, recyclable and well designed which are some of the reasons why more than half of consumers now say they have no reservations about buying and drinking boxed wine. And an added plus, boxed wine oxidizes more slowly than bottled wine because of the spout connected to the wine bag. It’s a win/win.
Another packaging innovation comes from the ever-inventive pizza industry. Pizza, as we’ve noted once before, requires a package stiff enough to protect the contents and insulated to keep in the warmth yet vented to prevent condensation. To date, only cardboard can meet all those needs cost-effectively. Now Pizza Hut is taking the humble pizza box to a new level – actually, three levels. Their new Triple Treat Box has three separate drawers for two pizzas and side orders or a dessert all in the same box. The box can also be torn apart into individual pieces that fit into a refrigerator so no part is wasted.
But for sheer inventiveness it’s hard to beat the new container McDonald’s recently introduced in Europe and Latin America. It’s called the McBike and it’s designed for hungry cyclists. The cardboard package is ingeniously designed to hang a burger, fries and a drink from the handlebars of a bicycle. When the cyclist is ready to lunch, he/she unhooks the box and separates the sides to reveal a complete meal. The box, designed by the Argentine ad agency, Tribal Buenos Aires, manages to give McDonald’s a little street cred as a hip and health-conscious food. It’s also consistent with the company’s new DynamicDesign project, the first global packaging makeover at McDonalds in three years.
I’ve also seen the increase of brands connecting with their customers by using the packaging as its own communications platform. Many restaurants have neat messages and cool designs on their food packaging but the Cultivating Thought Author Series by Chipotle took it one step further when they opened up their literary packaging to middle- and high-school students ages 13-18 for a chance to win a $20,000 college scholarship fund and have their original short essays showcased on Chipotle cups and bags that reach 800,000 people a day.
What other new packaging ideas can we look forward to? Take a look at the latest winners of the PPC packaging contest and you’ll see everything from angular Toblerone boxes to the new Cadbury Crème Eggs paperboard packaging that replaced their previous plastic trays and sleeves and won the Eco Award.