Canadian Packaging

Sweet and simple packaging

By Rhea Gordon   

Design & Innovation General Bake Shapes Decorative Muffin Tapers Betty Crocker General Mills Corporation Hershey Canada Inc. Lychee Exotic Juice Drink Quirky Incorporated Reese Reese Cupcakes Kit Rubicon Food Products Ltd. Tetra Pak Tropicana Products Inc. Tropicana Pure Premium

A monthly look at some of the hits and misses in the packaging world from the viewpoint of Joe Public, Canadian packaging magazine’s revolving columnists.

Although drink cartons may seem to be a dime a dozen these days, the creative packaging opportunities they offer with their generous canvas real estate and virtually airtight display capabilities are really a joy to behold when done right—as the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based Rubicon Food Products Ltd. has done with the one-liter Tetra Pak boxes of the company’s Lychee Exotic Juice Drink beverage. CheckOut 001

Using puzzle-like graphic patterns to create an effective wallpaper effect that completes partial graphics of the lychees when standing the boxes immediately next to one another is a terrifically clever way to create a lively shelf presence where the end result deftly exceeds the sum of its parts, while making each box appear larger than it actually is. With its subliminal message to buy more than one box to achieve similar effect back at home, the company has literally raised the art of “thinking outside the box” to a whole new level well above what the traditional, self-contained single-pack graphics can achieve—without resorting to a lot of loud ‘look-at-me’ visual clutter to make its point and connection with consumers at the shelf level. The soft-white background matching the color of the juice is gently enhanced with legible text and a soothing company logo near the top of the box—an eye-pleasing swirl of blue water surrounding whimsical white lettering of the brand logo with a graphic of a hummingbird in full flight.

The New York City-based Quirky Incorporated truly lives up to its name with the package for the company’s Bake Shapes Decorative Muffin Tapers, which at first glance look like they belong more in a toy store than in the kitchen utensils aisle. Easily catching the eye with its colorful assortment of a pair of purple, yellow and green lids—used to form the dented impression in the top layer of the muffins to make room for toppings and fillings—the simple die-cut flat piece of cardboard is colored in a playful shade of green and sprinkled with images of fresh berries and finished shapely muffins, along with depiction of a well-manicured hand removing the lid from a freshly-baked muffin. Check Out 013

A tasteful example of letting pictures do all the talking, the package boasts only a tiny bit of text in the middle to acknowledge the Bake Shapes inventor Hadar Ferris with a cute “invented by real people like you” tagline. Fittingly, the back of the pack reverts to plain black-and-grey color scheme to match the dark-grey tin bottoms protruding through the die-cut holes. The back panel features brief, well-spaced, easy-to-follow instructions made even easier with the use of line-drawing illustrations, with a small photo of Hadar Ferris herself delightfully putting the face behind the product just below the die-cut peg hole for hanging the whole set off a standard display rack. With its minimal use of material and spare use of colored inks, this remarkably simple, yet eminently delightful and 100-percent recyclable package gets full brownie points for its minimal carbon footprint impact, without any bragging or preaching overtones to go with it.


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With minimalist labeling and graphics, the new 3.49-liter plastic jugs of the Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice—produced by Bradenton, Fla.-based Tropicana Products Inc.—features a large flip-up lid that remains watertight when shaking the contents before pouring, and the clear container allows consumers to see exactly how much pulp is contained in the 100-percent not-from-concentrate juice inside. CheckOut 028

Clearly designed with ergonomics in mind, with the embossed Tropicana brand logo creating a nice shadow effect when caught in light at a certain angle, this family-sized bottle facilitates a well-balanced, one-handed pour of the contents, while checking all the boxes for ease of use and storage, product transparency, and a tight lid that never has to be fully separated from the bottle throughout its life-cycle.

Imported here by the Mississauga, Ont.-based Hershey Canada Inc., the Reese brand has long been synonymous with chocolate and peanutbutter goodness served up in an iconic, one-of-a-kind mini-cupcake shape that lets both flavors  enhance one another’s taste. Having recently teamed up with the General Mills Corporation, the Reese brand has bravely expanded into the baking product category with the Reese Cupcakes Kit line that takes the Reese brand name into a whole new market territory.

Checkout 023Its prominence on the package leaves no doubt about the identity of the star of the show—leaving the General Mills’ Betty Crocker brand’s trademarked spoon logo to play a largely supporting role. Well complemented with enticing graphics of a cupcake’s crosssection and another cupcake resting on a wooden table, the box is cleverly positioned in the baking aisle close to the Reese mini-pieces peanutbutter and chocolate hard-candy shells—packaged in pouches basting a large cookie decorated with these candies—that are proclaimed to be “perfect for baking.” For this iconic brand, a well-executed product category crossover is literally icing on the cake of a long and proud history of sweet mass appeal that the many legions of its fans will find sweetly rewarding in any way they choose to serve it up.

rhea gordonRhea Gordon is a freelance writer living in Toronto.


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