How to create an eye-catching food packaging design to drive impulse purchase

In an average German supermarket, the consumer finds about 11.000 products, which can make it really hard to stand out from the crowd with your packaging design - your first point of contact with any new or repeated customer! Therefore, we have put together a list of 6 tips that you should always consider, in order to create a really eye-catching and appealing food packaging design, that can also drive impulse purchase and first trials.

A great food packaging helps the consumer remember your product, as many of them often repurchase based on their visual memory (“I know what the front picture looks like”) and not based on a brand or product name (“What is the pasta brand called that you always buy?” “I don´t know, but it´s the one with the green packaging and red logo!”). It also helps to steer expectations for first time buyers who purchase your product based on what they assume it will be or taste like. And last but not least, you can create a certain reputation with a good food packaging design, as the more professional and “made with love” it looks, the more trust it creates among consumers. But which are the most important factors now to consider when creating your new food packaging?

1. Be aware of retail specifications

Food retail in Germany - as in most other countries - has certain expectations that need to be met, in order to sell your products in the right category, the right shelf and next to the right competitors. Think about (or ask retail!) the type of shelf you will be in (frozen, chilled, ambient, cabinet, rack etc.) and which format your packaging needs to have in order to fit perfectly (both your single product/SKU and tray). Else, you put a lot of efforts into creating a super nice landscape format which in the end will always be put up as portrait - and lose all it´s selling power.

2. Be clear & simple

Food shoppers have a very short attention span, and they need to know what your product is all about within a millisecond. Therefore, make sure to be bold and big with your brand name & logo, the USP & product benefits (always put your icons on the front of your label!) and especially the product type or description of what you are selling. If a consumer is looking for spaghetti bolognese in the convenience food shelf, this is exactly what they need to be able to see and read on your packaging - don´t leave them guessing, but make it clear!

Great example of Natasha´s Kale Crunchies that just "have it all"

3. Appetite appeal

Always, always, ALWAYS make sure that your food packaging looks as yummy as it gets in order to win over consumers and create a mouthwatering look! Food is about emotions and taste, and unless you might be selling in a very special category where the hard facts and nutrition values are the most important, you should always make sure to showcase the amazing flavours of your product. Don´t hold back when it comes to investing in an amazing food photo shooting that makes everyone crave for more!

4. Shelf impact & competitors

Never create your food packaging design in a closed room without any clue what your competitors look like or who they are. Go to the supermarkets and check the shelves, the competition and compare their designs to what you are planning. Of course, any food design is about who YOU are as a brand and product, but you should also always consider who your competitors are in order to stand out from the crowd. Try to be different while not moving too far away from the packaging size, shape and overall look that consumers are used to in your category. Make it easy for them to understand what you sell, but at the same time look different from everyone else. This balance is probably the hardest challenge for successful food packaging design.

5. Practicality

Make sure that you think about how a consumer is gonna be using your product. This way, you can figure out what kind of packaging type you will need, how it should be opened and if it needs to be stored after the first opening (and resealed) or if it gets thrown out straight away. If a packaging is super hard to use or reseal, you lower the likelihood of a repurchase by the (disappointed) consumer.

6. Extensibility

Will your new line extensions easily fit into the range that you created? Even though you only might have the plan to create a couple of SKU´s in your product line, make sure you leave imaginary room for more, and be aware that you might have to extend the assortment at one point. Will new products then still fit, how many colors can you add, and will there still be enough differentiation if you once end up with 20 different single products? All these questions are good to ask right from the start.

We know great food packaging design is challenging, but the results are totally worth it.

If you need any help creating your new food packaging, just give us a call or send an email to We are looking forward to your ideas!

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