Research and Trends / From the editor

Good Enough to Eat

October 1, 2012
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As brand professionals, we spend our days examining good-looking packaging. Designers brainstorm for the most appealing conception. Owners purposely try to make their brands look so scrumptious people can’t resist. But what happens when they succeed?

Several reports have surfaced lately about kids being tempted by tasty designs, like the candy-colored soap capsules meant to speed up household chores. Those new laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are finding their way into children’s mouths instead of the machines they are intended for (read more at http://on.today.com/OS9rv4).

This is where it gets awkward — the cover of this issue touts a cleaning agent so natural it can be ingested without harm. What, is BRANDPACKAGING speaking out of both sides of its mouth? Are we encouraging people to down a glass of soap with their snacks but steer clear of pods? Not at all. Some products are meant to be eaten. Some are not meant to be eaten. Some products are not meant to be eaten, but can be without issue.

What’s the solution to keeping consumers from getting confused by packaging?

I could suggest that all companies make their products safe and natural so that no one is ever hurt. But that’s not possible: Rat poison will never be edible. I could suggest that you make your packaging so ugly not even a baby would want it. Even then, I see my friend’s kid stick rocks and dirt in her mouth all the time. I could suggest parents watch their children 24/7, but let’s be realistic. It can’t happen. Parents do need sleep.

No company wants to cause detriment with its products. And accidents will happen no matter what your design looks like or how hard the package is to open. Innovation should still be pursued, and new looks should still be tried out. But it is a good idea to continually examine your product and package to see what might be improved in its composition and design. Then everyone benefits: the brand and the consumer.

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