Packaged FINDINGS: New Meat Snack Packaging is Nice But Doesn’t Fully Connect

Posted on Mar 5, 2019 by

Author Note: This article is a divergence from our traditional Packaging FINDINGS focused on the retail environment. I thought it a good opportunity to review packaging from the perspective of online purchasing as well as a product’s ability to make a connection with the consumer.

Snacks are ubiquitous. For every activity – breakfast, lunch, sports, traveling (just to name a few) – there appears to be not just a snack, but also an overwhelming cache of options to choose from. However, following the age worn adage variety is the spice of life, I have been reading about the newcomer to the snack meats category, Kalahari Biltong, and keeping my eye open for its appearance on shelf. Although I haven’t been able to find it there, I did find it on Amazon. Being a jerky fan, I was quick to order it and check it out.  Biltong – from my limited understanding, (which refers to air drying), is made for the same purpose as jerky, differing in terms of process.

My products arrived – a three-pack assortment of flavors presented in a clear plastic bag whose principle communication was “ready to ship”.  Being one of several other products delivered, I admit I was a bit let down by the “utility” of my first engagement with Kalahari Biltong. I may be behind the times, but I continue to believe that your first impression of product packaging is the one that has the greatest impact on you, and this presentation did not have that pop of wonderful I was expecting from a new product.

The individual packages were linked through a uniform design grid with a strong blue center panel color band accompanied by secondary colors distinguishing flavor variations. Graphics were uncluttered and communication direct, however, it took a fair amount of searching to uncover why or how this product differentiated itself from other dried or aged meat products.

The product name is supported with Air Dried, Thinly Sliced Beef. Tracking back up to the package top, there is a statement “you will never go back to jerky!” yet there is no compelling message answering the question “why”?  The logo centered above the Biltong copy was somewhat confusing – was it representative of a mountain or a sand dune and how did this relate to the Kalahari Desert? I had a hard time linking this into the theme of a sport worthy energy food or wine tasting accouterment as stated on the back panel.

What did work effectively was the copy flag with “6 ingredients” followed by icons of the ingredients in the product – universally and immediately understandable, and from a consumer view point a definite product benefit.  Additional supporting copy identifying the product as hormone and antibiotic free – was another positive communication for those looking for the “better for you” snack.

The structure of the package is a footed plastic bag consistent with the trends in current snack packaging but none of the packages fill out the structure enough to deploy the stabilizing feature of the base. Unless you open the package and shake the product into the bag the package doesn’t merit the gusset feature. I cannot comment on the product, I can only observe what the package presents to the consumer. I wanted so very much to be “taken” with this new product but in the end I simply wanted to know more about why this is “more” than jerky.

These are nice packages, however I feel the design could be more effective in establishing a brand affinity with consumers, incentivizing them to purchase – especially when purchasing online, where you don’t get to see, touch or feel before purchase. 

If you are thinking of 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.