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December 18, 2014

Cereal Packaging of the Future

Cereal Packaging of the Future

If Sci-fi movies have taught us anything, it’s that we will definitely have personal jet crafts by 2016 — Fact. This being the case, we will need all of our food packaging to be resealable, otherwise we’ll spill our Froot Loops whenever we reenter the atmosphere. So, packaging design companies better get cracking.

For some reason — most likely price considerations and consumer expectation — we’ve packaged breakfast cereals in the exact same way since the middle of the 20th century. The tradition of the plastic bag surrounded by the cartoon and puzzle-covered cardboard box is a hard one to break — what else are we supposed to read with our breakfast? How will we ever know who won the Cap’n Crunch-a-thon?

For whatever reason, resealable packaging design for cereal boxes have not been foremost on the brains of most of the major cereal manufacturers or even packaging design companies. Even as the public cried for cereal bags (within the boxes) that would open cleanly and reseal without the aid of outside tools (paper clips or clear tape), it isn’t a ubiquitous design, for some reason.

Nevertheless, time marches forward, and perhaps we should start thinking about design alternatives. Although we’ve gotten used to standard breakfast cereal packaging, wouldn’t it be nice if that packaging was a bit more convenient? Maybe a touch more modern? Perhaps something along the lines of Dee’s Cereal?

Classic Cereal Boxes

We’ve grown accustomed to boxed cereals — they’re easy to stack and display — but we might have grown to accept the design for so many years because that’s what we’re used to. Also, the only other alternatives were the generic brands that are typically packaged in bags that are widely regarded as flimsy and difficult to store (they do require a separate container for convenient storage, in fact). Finding a well-designed alternative is the goal for any manufacturer who wants to both appeal to the market while standing slightly apart from the competition.

We’re not saying that everyone has to be a genius or a maverick — like us, quite frankly — but package design and marketing is all about thinking about what the consumer will appreciate, while at the same time providing what the market will accept. The market generally wants what is the best value for money, and minimal packaging that offers long-term product enjoyment is certainly the best value.

Resealable Packaging

At first, we may think that a resealable packaging design for cereal is a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t consumers respond favorably to a package that takes product storage and freshness into account? Well, there are a few loopholes in the formula.

Firstly, you have to determine exactly what kind of sealing mechanism is best for the consumer. There are many brands that use tape-seal designs, but researchers have found that these are the least favored by consumers of any on the resealable spectrum. According to a small survey conducted by marketing consultants Watch Me Think USA, consumers don’t necessarily respond favorably to all methods of resealing — they prefer zipper seals, or seals that are strong enough to secure the package for the life of the product while still remaining malleable enough to re-open multiple times. Once again, Dee’s Cereal offers secure zipper-locked sealing while being stable enough to endure through the entire product’s use.

Marketing Solutions

Boxes do have an advantage over bags, although not for reasons you’d might think. Firstly, the fact that boxes have been the standard packaging for decades is pretty firmly stamped in the public imagination. We expect our cereal to be packaged in boxes, so that is what we look for. When we see something packaged completely differently from the rest of the competitors, our instant reaction is that the differently-package product is somehow a different type of product — not what we want. How might we overcome this hurdle?

Flat-bottomed cereal packages are the clear solution to this problem, since they are not only able to remain in a brand-displaying and easy-to-store position, the structure offers greater product protection than generic bags. Moreover, the surface area of a sturdy upright bag will still be a good canvas for the brand’s label design, which will tell the customer that while the packaging might have changed, the product remains the same.

Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, it is never easy to transition from a time-honored formula to something new and unfamiliar, even if that is what the public wants. The flexible and resealable cereal bag walks the line between familiarity and innovation, and thus far, the public has been quite accommodating. However, we’ll only carry resealable Frosted Flakes in our hovercrafts if the packages include the Tony the Tiger’s Tiger Tail Treasure Hunt. Not negotiable.

author

by Kevin Smith

Managing partner at SmashBrand. We’re a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.


Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.


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