Little and large
A colleague dropped by my desk to show me the new Quavers packaging. Life can be pretty exciting like that. Anyway, here it is. As you can see, they have reduced the packaging (great) and are no longer shipping a third or so of a bag of air (also great). However, as my colleague noted, they looked ‘weird…like a packet of nappies or something’ (less great).
As the saying has it, ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ I think we have to take our hats off to the brand for making a difference and trying something different. They will have thought long and hard about this, weighed up the pros and cons then taken a hard, but essentially right-minded decision. They are not alone in reducing stand out by reducing unnecessary format space – consider both Kellogg’s and Sure.
And Quavers are not alone in going with a less obviously appealing format in order to make material savings – consider Kenco’s ‘Eco Refill’ packs.
There is, perhaps, a way to both save materials and retain stature. Hula Hoops for example still looks like a multi-bag of crisps as we know and love the format, but also shaves away 30% of its packaging. Persil ‘small and mighty’ put format reduction hand in hand with product efficacy to tell a story beyond just being smaller. Puma’s ‘clever little bag’ reduced materials and gained a bunch of design awards for being groovy.
So here’s the thing: I would applaud Quavers for taking a stand on a principle that has cost them something in standout and arguably appeal. And if this leads to a drop in sales it probably says something sad but true about us consumers. Yes, we want our packaging design to be more sustainable but we don’t expect to have to compromise on our own habits or how we like things to look, or anything else. If we reject this format because it looks a bit like a nappy pack, perhaps it is we who are the babies here? On the bright side, who knows, it might even be the new standard, the new ‘normal’?