Winning retail packaging starts with attention to detail

Rick Lingle in Retail Packaging on April 27, 2015

An annual packaging competition sponsored by Store Brands magazine provides an impressive, insider’s view of the latest and greatest new products and packaging from retail chains that shows just how far these brands have moved beyond “generic” in look and quality.


There are two main ways to assess store brands’ packaging in person, either visiting various grocery chains or somehow arranging to have the stores send the packaging to you. Packaging Digest was able to take the latter route, courtesy of our participation in Store Brands magazine’s annual Best of the Best Packaging competition.


In mid-April I joined my colleague, executive editor Lisa Pierce, along with Linda Casey of Package Design and Pan Demetrakakes, senior editor of Retail Leader, in judging the annual store brand packaging competition sponsored by Store Brands in the offices of Stagnito Media north of Chicago. The contest drew 149 entries across five key product categories of Refrigerated & Frozen; Shelf Stable; Beverages; Nonfoods; and Line Extensions. We saw many new products that we likely would not have otherwise come across. Cumulatively and in terms of the packaging, the entries touched all formats.

The winners of the competition won’t be known until Store Brands reveals them in its July issue, but meantime here are my personal picks seen in informal images taken on-site during the judging. You can read about Lisa's faves, too.

We’ll begin with packages that should resonate with one of the largest segments of our audience, that of food packaging, which starts with the pouches above.


Do you believe in love at first sight? 14-oz stand-up pouches of organic coconut products from The Fresh Market, “a chain of gourmet supermarkets based in Greensboro, NC,” won me over in short order. That instant infatuation was solidified the more I examined the packs. I loved the atypical, slightly mottled color bands across the top and bottom of the pouch front. I loved the dominating dream-quality black-and-white product photography that underscores old-fashioned “made from scratch baking” while striking a strong note of nostalgia. I loved the hierarchy organization in selecting the most crucial messaging elements on an inviting and uncluttered pouch front, especially making prominent the keyword Coconut. I loved the look and feel of the matte finish bag film. I loved…well, just about everything about these packs.


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