February 23, 2015 – by Vera Hoynck van Papendrecht &samhoud food
Another day another challenge. Recipes finalized, distribution arranged. How about packaging? We had to face the facts and prepare for 2 Michelin star chef Moshik Roth’s true night mare: his preciously cared for meal would be consumed in a blink of an eye, maybe even in front of the television, straight from a box. No plate involved. No lights dimmed. No candles lit. Truly convenient.
But from a chef’s perspective…ouch! Eating should be an experience that comprises it all: seeing, smelling, tasting, atmosphere. All these ingredients together for the optimal experience. How could our packaging do justice to the desire for convenience and our love for food?
We had to confer with reality. And when we did, we embraced it and had the following in mind:
- The presentation of our meals in the package does the selling
- The smell of ingredients upon opening the box elevates expectations
- Proof – pudding – eating
- ….even when consumed straight out of the box
So then…what next? Where to find inspiration and how to proceed? By then we already knew: when you don’t have a clue, there are others that do. The person we asked for a hint in the right direction was five seconds into explaining us why the UK was the best place to get inspiration for packaging. He lost us at ‘Londen’. Onto a plane to London, the Mecca of packaging. Off we went.
Two days later we set foot in outlets of UK’s famous retailers; Waitrose, Morrison, and Marks & Spencer. We were delighted. What a treat; a candy shop for convenience geeks. Here you can sense and see that people really care for food quality and presentation. And they sure seem to have embraced the concept of convenience food. We took off by secretly taking pictures of all the things that we liked. But quickly got so enthusiastic that we changed strategy, and went back for a shopping cart which we fully loaded with all the things that appealed to us. And then partially unloaded it when we realized the inconveniency of bringing them all back home. A full hour later we had collected all master pieces.
The key take outs were that packaging…
…possesses the ability to even make a Michelin chef enthusiastic
…can make you smile
…can tell a story
…make your product – or break it
Back on Dutch soil Moshik looked at his phone and said: “This is what we need. There is nothing more perfect. This it should be, but then larger. And black. And tall enough that when you sit on the couch enjoying your meal, you can hold it with one hand, and eat with the other, without wasting the couch, or your clothes.” It took me a few seconds to realize that he was talking about our packaging. And comparing it to an iPhone. But it made sense: boxes not filled up to the lid, the meals built up by hand, and leaving room for perspective. Like a plate in a restaurant. No need to be ashamed anymore of eating straight out of the box. And truly enjoying your convenient meal.