Packaged FINDINGS: Barilla’s “Ready Pasta” stays true to core brand

Posted on Feb 19, 2019 by

CPG companies are eager to be the first to successfully bring new products to the shelf and establish a leadership position in their category. Barilla, a manufacturer of pasta products, has built a brand legacy and to this day remains a leader in the category of dried pasta and sauces. For over 100 years, Barilla has carefully managed its brand image to continually stay relevant and yet adaptive to the evolutionary demands of changing contemporary market demands. While sustaining a strong brand image and message, they have also become more forward as a category innovator in rolling out new products ranging from classic pasta’s, gluten-free, veggie and whole grain/fiber, organic and quick cook pasta, and most recently, “Ready Pasta” – a fully cooked pasta product that with a mere toss in the microwave delivers perfect “al dente” pasta, ready to eat as is or complemented by your favorite sauce or topping.

What is noteworthy is that in spite of 100 plus years of evolution as a brand, Barilla represents an almost ideal case study in the effective alignment of brand management and packaging design. The company has become a successful international operation integrating many different brands under a larger brand umbrella while remaining true to a strong core brand identity and an innovation leader in each segment they operate in. This was demonstrated most clearly with “Ready Pasta”.

Typically, pasta products are sold in cartons, and in spite of various quick-cook versions of the product, still require cooking time before use. This fully cooked pasta packaging is unique in being a footed pouch, which simply tears open for a quick heat–up in the microwave and it is ready to eat. In spite of being a pre-cooked product, the visual design system is directly aligned with the balance of the product family’s carton-style packaging. Organized on a strong vertical structure led by the classic red and white Barilla logo, the pasta style, product description, visual and content statement read in a simple, clean, direct message – consistent with an established packaging grid used across the balance of the product line. The use of a spot varnish on the logo and on the visuals of the pasta enhances the impact of those visual elements.

The back panel is wonderfully direct, using icons as much as copy, instructing the consumer on the proper use of the product. Of course, there is the usual nutrition facts and ingredients. What I particularly appreciate is that the iconography for non-GMO and BPA free are kept small and discreet enough that they are present if the consumer needs to know, but they do not intrude on brand space. I genuinely appreciate the elegance and simplicity of this packaging system. What is on the package is designed to communicate, without excess or superficial design just to fill space, making it easy for the consumer to identify the product, relate it to their satisfaction with a larger family of products, and understand quickly and effectively how to use the product.

Barilla is a classic example of how a brand stays true to itself while responding and adapting to ever-changing consumer demands and cultural influences. There are instances where a drastic change in brand image is required, but there is great value in building upon the best of what you have, encouraging consumers to travel with you through the process of expanding and contemporizing your product line and packaging.


If you are thinking about exploring innovative packaging, contact us at 920-886-7727 or  Throughout our 60 plus years of supporting customers with consumer brands large and small, we apply our experience and expertise to the entire process to create efficient and effective solutions. 

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