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Anchor Dairy plots packaging design course for U.S.

Anchor Dairy plots packaging design course for U.S.
Fonterra Brands enters new consumer waters with a rebranding and redesigned packaging for its marquee brand, Anchor Dairy.

Fonterra launches rebranded Anchor Dairy cheese and butter products stateside with a bold design scheme that reflects the “zeal” of its New Zealand heritage.

Out with the old, in with the new: Fonterra Brands, Rosemont, IL, is sailing away from the Mainland brand in the United States and entering new consumer waters with rebranded packaging for its marquee brand, Anchor Dairy, done specifically for U.S. consumers.

Renowned for its New Zealand-made, grass-fed, pasture-raised dairy products, the parent company is relaunching the brand stateside with new-look packaging that will showcase the high-quality cheese and butter products. The strategy? To change the way U.S. consumers think about quality dairy products by upholding the heritage of 200-plus-year-old dairy practices of Fonterra, which was founded in 1886.

“We place the utmost importance on clean sustainable farming and animal care practices,” says Megan Patterson, head of U.S. retail marketing, Fonterra USA. “Our cows are extremely cared for and live most of their days on Fonterra Family Farms with lush, green pastures—on a unique, global dairy farming scale. Sharing the pure New Zealand taste in Anchor butter and cheese is our goal.”

The Mainland brand’s U.S. packaging look had been in circulation for 15+ years, Patterson tells Packaging Digest, who adds that the changeover to Anchor was set in motion in 2017.

“After our team was put into place in June of 2018 we began the push to create a conversion to the Anchor branding that would fit the needs and demands of the U.S. consumer,” she explains. “It’s important to note the product itself is unchanged—it’s the same grass fed, pasture raised, non-GMO and organic in some cases product sold across the globe in our key markets in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, Caribbean and others.”

Previewed during the Natural Products Expo West show in California in early March, the new-look products under the Anchor Dairy banner are rolling out across the U.S. this spring. Patterson addresses Packaging Digest’s questions in this Q&A.

What were the main design goals?

Patterson: The packaging was designed with flavor and function in mind. The goal was to create a package to connect the U.S. consumer with our New Zealand homeland. I wanted a look and feel that would assign a color that popped off the shelf, allowing each of our cheeses to stand alone by flavor profile and fit together as a family. Our vintage and aged organic are more of a reserve and needed to truly stand out from the pack creating a bolder look and calling attention to the attributes. The “zeal” of New Zealand is what inspired the pack start to finish.

What was changed from the previous packaging and why?

Patterson: Our old package and brand spent 15+ years in the U.S. as Mainland-brand cheese, and  Anchor globally looks incredibly different from the new U.S. design. This package was designed with the goal of showcasing the products as the premium import they are while calling attention to the grass-fed, pasture-raised quality you can taste. We wanted to showcase the very best of our New Zealand roots and zeal.

What was the most dramatic departure?

Patterson: Honestly, the entire package for the U.S. is a delineation or departure from the Anchor you would find across the globe and of course from Mainland. The U.S. consumer needed to have a package that they could identify with to show our premium imported look, taste and positioning. The entire pack is a dramatic change!

Please explain the key elements starting with the map.

Patterson: The mapping is in fact a map of New Zealand. If you look closely you’ll see our country’s capital in Wellington and can also see Christchurch, mountain ranges and Pegasus Bay displayed.
The black circle not only stands out to draw you in, it’s also a nod to our New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team.
The back of pack has a socially trendable #Kiwifact that is different for each cheese and allows consumers to learn more about our homeland. We’re not all hobbits and shires! Each Friday those who follow us on social will learn a little more as #Kiwifactsfriday have become a fun element that ties into the package launch.

How many product lines and SKUs are involved?

Patterson: Mainland currently has four 7oz-cheese blocks and varied weight stock-keeping units that will be converting to the new Anchor U.S. package, and we added a new limited SKU in aged organic. This along with our vintage line that are more a reserve and thus have a slightly different look. We will be adding additional SKUs to Anchor as the line continues to do grow. In addition to Anchor, our premium Kapiti cheese line will expand its footprint in targeted specialty cheese stores and retailers.

Can the design firm be credited?

Patterson: Packaging was designed by Lauren Hayes from SRW, our U.S. Retail/Consumer Agency of Record. They were instrumental in putting the vision to paper and now to pack! Lauren and the SRW team did an amazing job. We couldn’t be more pleased with them. The finish work was completed by myself and Kraftworks in New Zealand. It was truly a team effort!

Were changes made to the previous packaging materials or structure?

Patterson: We moved from a waxed parchment with a front and back sticker to a printed film that reduces production time, provides a more environmentally friendly package and stays inline with our global sustainability commitments. Our process as a whole changed for the better and we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to store shelves!

For more information on Anchor Dairy, visit


Much food for thought for packaging will be found at PackEx Toronto June 4-6, 2019, where innovative ideas in containers and design, the latest machinery and automation solutions and free education at Centre Stage will be available. For more information, visit PackEx Toronto. ___________________________________________________________________________________

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