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5 Standout Examples of Food Packaging That’s Too Pretty to Eat

Madeline Killen

These five grocery store brands are a feast for the eyes.

Let us posit a theory: the recent rise of grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh and FreshDirect, along with meal delivery services à la Blue Apron, may be evidence of a broader truth: people hate grocery stores. And can you blame them? Any given Manhattan Trader Joe’s transforms into a refrigerated Times Square around 5:30pm every night of the week, complete with disgruntled commuters, bright lights, and signs promising new items and great deals at every turn.

That’s why shoppers usually make a beeline to the items they need and get out again as quickly as they can — and why food retailers need to pull out all the stops to attract a consumer’s attention. Low prices or one-time promotions are always a popular means of enticing shoppers away from the competition, but after the prices go back up or the promotion is over, that customer’s loyalty is never guaranteed.

These five brands, on the other hand, have all turned to a more sustainable solution for both attracting and retaining customers: beautiful packaging. Their aesthetically appealing boxes, cartons, and cans, which look more suited to a trendy boutique or an art museum wall than a grocery store shelf, are bound to delight shoppers and keep return purchases rolling in.

1. Califia Farms

Beverage brand Califia Farms, which got its start in almond milk but has since expanded into juice and iced coffee offerings, stands out in a fridge crowded with boxy milk cartons thanks to the sleek, unique shape of its bottles. Intended to evoke the feel of vintage fresh milk bottles, the package’s coffee shop-cool graphics reinforce the farm-to-table feel. The Califia Farms logo, a flower-crowned goddess, combines with the ’50s-style typeface to hearken back to a simpler time — but with an upgrade for the modern health- and eco-conscious consumer, as all of the brand’s products are vegan.

2. Chobani Yogurt

Chobani has been a giant on the dairy scene ever since Greek yogurt took America by storm a little under a decade ago, and it didn’t take long for an influx of imitators to follow in the brand’s footsteps. Soon, the yogurt itself wasn’t the only homogenized thing in the yogurt fridge: a flurry of snow-white containers with simple black lettering made it impossible to distinguish one brand from another. That copycat effect prompted Chobani to pull out ahead of the competition once again with a striking rebrand, which it revealed via an ambitious 3×3 Instagram announcement at the end of November 2017. Inspired by 19th-century folk art and featuring a natural color palette, the new branding makes Greek yogurt feel trendy again.

3. Vital Farms Eggs

The market for ethically sourced food grew 5% last year and shows no signs of slowing down. However, inconsistencies in the use of terms like “free range,” “organic,” and “all-natural” makes it difficult for consumers to be sure that the food they’re buying actually aligns with their values and dietary preferences. Vital Farms breaks through the jargon, showing off its “USDA Organic” and “Certified Humane” designations while also covering its charming, chalkboard-inspired egg carton with phrases like “Freedom to forage all year round,” “Made with fresh air and sunshine,” and “Tended by hand on small family farms.” As an added bonus, each carton contains a tiny brochure showcasing a different hen each month — how’s that for knowing where your food comes from?

4. Compartés Chocolate

This LA-based chocolatier has been in business since 1950, but its shockingly trendy flavors — avocado toast, vegan kale, and rosé are all in the repertoire — and eye-popping packaging make Compartés’ products feel utterly modern. That’s largely thanks to its owner, Jonathan Grahm, who took over as CEO of the company at age 15 after working in its flagship store as a preteen. That same store now displays the words “Chocolate is Art” in pink neon on the back wall, and the products on offer make it hard to dispute that statement. Many of their chocolate bars come decorated with edible flowers or paint, and the bars break into triangles — matching the company’s logo — rather than the typical squares. Talk about a new spin on an old classic.

5. Nomadica Wine

Emma Toshack, founder and CEO of Nomadica Wines, founded her company in response to a fairly niche problem: her background in fine wine meant she couldn’t find a beverage she enjoyed, but that was also portable for the beach and pool. Her solution? Fine wine, but in cans. It’s worth nothing that Toshack is far from the only entrepreneur to have this idea recently; the canned wine industry is rapidly growing, with sales jumping to over $30 million last year from only $3 million in 2014. But even in this crowded market, Nomadica manages to stand out. Toshack collaborates with street artists to design the brand’s packaging, making her cans stand out in a fridge section otherwise filled with preppy pink-and-white options.

Madeline Killen

Senior Content Associate

Helps clients find their voice and share it with the world, online and in print. Best friends with her library card.

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