Sensational soufflé packaging reunites Delici with Costco

Justin Johnson

January 16, 2018

5 Min Read
Sensational soufflé packaging reunites Delici with Costco
The new, uniquely packaged Delici dessert to be introduced in time for Valentine's Day.

The 2018 follow-up to 2016’s successful Delici dessert mousse packaging is a soufflé uniquely packaged in Ferrari-red ceramic ramekins that are reusable.

Ed. Note: One of the best-read features posted at Packaging Digest over the past two years that continues to draw solid interest monthly was our interview with designer Justin Johnson of More Brand from April 2016 regarding a unique packaged dessert developed for Costco (Decadent Delici dessert packaging designed for Costco).

That breakthrough hit is a hard act to follow, but Johnson—who branched out with a food-and-beverage-specific design business, Shelf Packaging—and his associates are up to the task with something that’s at least as innovative. In fact, it’s so unique, this may very well be the first time this material has ever been considered, much less used, as a container in the packaged food market.

This time, Johnson tells his own story of a sensational Dark Chocolate Soufflé debuting at Costco in Canada later this month.

The brand

The new Delici soufflé product is a natural extension to the Delici product portfolio. After having an initial breakout hit with our reusable dessert mousse glasses, the pressure was on to expand market share in the fresh dessert category. Delici’s ambitions extend well beyond that of a mousse company; Delici creates fresh desserts for those personal moments of indulgence as well as impressing guests at special events.

We will soon be launching our first item, “Dark Chocolate Soufflé," with several more to follow throughout 2018. Set to debut at Costco in Canada, it was specifically created for the Christmas through Valentine’s Day period expressly for Costco and features a Ferrari red ramekin. If the results are good with this initial short launch into Valentine’s 2018, then this item will be carried from Christmas through Valentines going forward. As before, the packaging, printing and manufacturing of the products was done in Belgium.

The packaging

A significant component of the Delici brand is the thoughtful packaging of the product. One of our core brand values is that the packaging must create additional value for the beyond the life of the product. The Shelf Packaging team ensured that the new soufflé met those non-negotiable brand criteria.

Delici’s new dark chocolate with salted caramel soufflé is packaged in ceramic ramekins that are comparable to what you would find at your local upscale kitchen store. After use, the individual serving cup ramekins are great for baking, cooking or serving at home. They make great decorative serving dishes for ingredients and toppings in the kitchen. They are even microwavable. Those less inclined to cook can use them to tastefully store change or keys.

We had a custom ferarri red ramekin manufactured to not only enhance the beauty of the dark chocolate product, but to create an ambiance related to both holidays. The product beauty photography was done with a background using a natural white barn wood sourced from Kentucky creating a beautiful light, airy and clean presentation complimenting the product and allowing it to be the hero.

The ceramic ramekins were extremely difficult to source. All of us that play a role on the Delici team had very high expectations. Our desired specifications and large quantities presented serious challenges. Not only that, the weight of the product and size of the portions added greater complexity. It was a tough problem that took many months of painstaking research and development to get right.

Graphics are printed C1S paperboard stock printed with five colors and glued for a tight tolerance on the plastic clamshell. Each filled ramekin is about 100 (3.53oz) net weight.

We thought the development of the outer packaging would be easier this time around because we had been through the process before. However, in many ways our team found it much more difficult. When you have a big hit on your first product, the pressure builds and the expectations are high for both your internal team and your customer base. Our team refined this package down to the millimeter, iteration after iteration. When one team member was worn out and ready to call it “good enough,” another one stepped in and pushed it further.

The graphics

As far as the graphics, the design team at SHELF Packaging wanted the look and feel of the packaging to appropriately communicate that of a freshly prepared dessert. The photography was shot in a workstation type of environment. Ingredients are loosely visible in the shot where the product itself is being prepared in real-time. The package back shows the dessert being lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar visually reminiscent of a light snow or magical fairy dust enchanting the consumer. The graphics are distressed for a more natural look than our elegant mousses.

The product

The product development was agonizing. “Eating a soufflé everyday for months to get the recipe perfect doesn’t sound bad to most people, but it was brutal,” says Mike Horne from Sunwest Sales, “and duplicating a fine restaurant soufflé for mass consumption was really tough.”

Translating the small batch recipe into a mass-scale production and keeping that home-style dessert quality was demoralizing at times. The thing to take away is when you have a passionate leader like Delici founder Steven Himpe the standards are high and there are no such things as shortcuts or “good enough.” That is what we love about working with Steven and Mike. You can achieve great things when you have built a relationship on trust. It gives all parties the freedom to be direct, critique hard and push-back until the problem is solved.

The response

After many late nights and endless pots of coffee the teams at Shelf Packaging and Delici are proud of the final result. Buyers are excited and eager to get this product on the shelf.

Justin Johnson is the founder of SHELF Packaging and has 17+ years’ experience in branding and package design for club store, c-store, private label and grocery channels. He can be reached at [email protected] or 918-609-3529.

SHELF Packaging is a package design and branding agency specializing in snacks, food & beverage. We strategize & create to power the growth of your brand portfolio by building authentic connections between your brands and your customers. 


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