Our feet were hurting and our blood pressure went through the roof, but the Fancy Food Show was worth it. Over 20,000 attendees hit the Bay Area show in January. There was so much to see—and eat, of course.
If you couldn’t attend, don’t worry. We’ve recapped it for you.
BAGS, BOXES AND ECO-FRIENDLY
A tea and latte bag brand uses simply-folded paper bags tied off to stand on their own, eco-conscious with a prominent and clear brand name. Also, Just Cook is a local San Francisco brand with standout packaging and innovative structure. Its package has a multi-purpose lid that once opened can be turned upside down to reseal herbs and keep them fresh.
PICKLED, JUICED, JAMMED, DISTILLED
BBQ packaging has a lot of personality. One brand is exceptionally playful and rude, and also sold in hardware stores. Luckily, some of our favorite chefs shop at Home Depot. There was also the BBQ Spot, gourmet prepared seasonings for grocery with visible flavors and packaging that was re-sealable, durable and award-winning.
One of the most impactful setups from a branding standpoint was Vermont Smoke & Cure. Everything was extremely well put together. Even the toothpick dispensers were branded. In a sea of cluttered exhibits, all desperately screaming for your attention with different callouts and violators and attempts at dimensionality, this was very bold and clear.
And finally, gold foil stamping. Need we say more. SERIOUSLY, GOLD SALMON! Classic, clean and high-end, it was one of our favorites at the show.
EYECATCHING, CLEVER AND MEMORABLE STRUCTURES
Brands are taking full advantage of opportunities to get recognized and stand out from the crowd. Unique shapes, silhouettes, added decoration and unique materials are being used to help structure play a much bigger role, often providing value far beyond the investment.
INNOVATIVE WAYS TO SHOWCASE PRODUCT
Sometimes, consumers just really need to see what they’re getting. Showcasing the product on the inside of a package can be awkward. But things are looking up. Once restrained by standard shaped windows and diecuts, many brands are getting creative with windows to help express their brand stories and create a proprietary look.
LOTS OF WHITE SPACE
Some of the most memorable packages were those with ample white space. Scanning the conference halls (and the grocery aisle), consumers can get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of visual clutter. So many brands fill their packaging full of photography, illustration, and layers of colors and type. Gone are the days when clients say, “I paid for that space, so damn it, you better fill it up with graphics!”
It was really nice to see a calm in the storm. The understated use of white and neutrals and simpler graphics allow a brand to really stand out and feel just a bit more premium, too.
STRONG COLOR SYSTEMS
We’re seeing more brands moving away from rigid color systems. The show had its fair share of packaging systems that use a distinctive group of colors to signal a brand look. The single-color system across all product lines is disappearing. Some brands go so far as to sometimes allow the logo to change color depending on the backdrop.
BLACK AS A BACKDROP
We’re always struck by how effective black packaging is to showcase imagery and let the right colors really pop. It’s yet another way to give the eyes a rest and create a focal point.
PLAYFUL USE OF IMAGERY
We saw lots of clever approaches to showcasing product imagery. Lots of thinking beyond the typical still life or beauty shots. Approaching product imagery with playful or totally unique staging really helps these brands create a proprietary and memorable look. It might even give consumers something to talk about.