Packaged FINDINGS: KODIAK CAKES Rekindles Positive Memories with Standout Design

Posted on Oct 26, 2016 by


Some products, especially those from smaller companies or from companies presenting innovative new products are on shelf because the manufacturer wants to share something that perhaps their family has made for generations or that they feel offers a unique solution to a problem that remains unsolved. Many new, start-up products begin with minimal marketing dollars to support their rollout, which makes the role of packaging critical. Often for these products, package design must be the manufacturers first and best effort to tell their product story – to pull the consumer into the product and to share their experience. This is why I’m highlighting Kodiak Cakes.

When I saw this package, it immediately triggered memories of cold mornings at the family cabin, starting our day with a hearty breakfast of hot flapjacks. Seeing the Kodiak Cakes package, I was transported back to those mornings and eager to confirm the potential of this product to recreate that taste experience. The design didn’t necessarily leap off the shelf into the cart, but it was very effective in jumping into my imagination and rekindling positive memories.


My curiosity was satisfied as I combed the package and read the story and inspiration behind the product and package graphic design. Recreating a treasured family recipe for flapjack mix based on wholesome and healthy ingredients, the package design was crafted to echo the brown paper bags that the product was originally sold (door to door) in. A brand image based on a large bear gave the “feel” of the era – and the outdoor woodsman – to the package design. The choice of black, sienna and white to house the image of the bear filled at least half the package with in-your-face branding, reinforcing the notion of being as hungry as a bear!

Compared to other like products in the category, the Kodiak Cakes package clearly stands apart in its bold direct design, which immediately separates the product in the category and yet connects with the consumer.

Perhaps the reason why this package design works for me is because it made me stop and remember one of my truly big life adventures. Our cabin was just that, a stick built cottage in the woods. One morning when we got up and looked out the window, we saw a big black bear sitting on the porch. It had opened our ice box (not a refrigerator) and was snacking on our total available food supply. We were trapped inside until the bear was done with its breakfast, and it ended up being one of the few days we went to town for pancakes.

If you are thinking of creating a new package or adding new products to your mix, our packaging experts can help you successfully connect with your customers. Contact us at 920-725-4848 or

The purpose of our “findings” blog is to spotlight packaging that displays thinking that breaks the mold and delivers something new or chancy – or at the very least, highlights packaging that catches your eye in the retail environment.