Canadian Packaging

Alternative Dairy Products Upstart Leverages Sustainable Packaging To Boost Natural Appeal

Canadian Packaging   

Design & Innovation Sustainability Cartoning Design Culcherd Ellis Packaging Limited Fresh City Farms Pusateri’s The Big Carrot Werle Design Associates

Culcherd brands have recently received formal Organic and Vegan certifications to add to the products’ soy-free, dairy-free, preservative-free and palm oil-free attributes

The surging growth in consumer demand for more plant-based meat and dairy alternatives is opening up unprecedented opportunities for companies like Culcherd, an upstart Toronto producer of plant-based cheese and butter products with an uncanny knack for creating attractive, high-impact packaging with virtually negligible environmental footprint.

Currently retailing at local high-end grocery outlets like Pusateri’s, The Big Carrot and Fresh City Farms, among others, the company’s aptly named It’s not Cheese and It’s not Butter product line are artisanally crafted in small batches using coconut and cashews as primary raw ingredients,
along with a variety of all-natural organic spices.

Aimed at consumers seeking to avoiding dairy due to allergies, intolerances or other health reasons, as well as people having chosen a plant-based and/or vegan lifestyle, both Culcherd brands have recently received formal Organic and Vegan certifications to add to the products’ soy-free, dairy-free, preservative-free and palm oil-free attributes.

Offered in the Original, Garlic, Turmeric Black Pepper and Cinnamon Swirl flavors, It’s not Butter is sold in two 50-gram sticks wrapped in a layer of grease-proof paper inserted inside slim, highly decorative folding cartons printed by Ellis Packaging Limited of Pickering, Ont.


According to company co-owner Liz Gallagher, who founded Culcherd in 2015, producing delicious dairy alternatives with the highest-quality, organic ingredients in the most environmentally sustainable way is a core value that the company worked hard to reflect with its new plastic-free, compostable and/or recyclable product packaging.

“Our new products are really unique,” says Gallagher, citing the products’ distinct cultured taste, full product versatility for spreading, blending, baking, etc., and a short and clean ingredient deck. Boasting a natural rind that sets it apart from most of their plant-based competitors, the company’s It’s
not Cheese line comprises six different appetizing flavor varieties formulated to help the body maintain a balanced gut microbiome for healthy digestion.

Also wrapped in home-compostable grease-proof paper, the substitute cheese rounds are packaged inside full-color hexagonal 115-gram boxes also supplied by Ellis Packaging.

Featuring product photography taken by Culcherd’s other co-owner Tim Donnelly, the high-impact packaging graphics were developed with the assistance of Toronto-based Werle Design Associates to create a look befitting the brand’s premium quality taste and ingredients.

“Having aesthetically appealing packaging has always been very important to me, and something I’m very passionate about,” Donnelly says. “There is a lot of white packaging in our product category, so we wanted to keep our boxes darker.

“Hence we used a rich wood background to emphasize the artisanal and premium look-and-feel and, “ Donnelly relates, “and we ‘lit’ the products so they would pop off of the dark background.

“We strive to be authentic we always wanted consumers to be able to see what they are purchasing,” he says, “so having strong images on our box was extremely important.

“The front of the box is a straight-on shot, and the top is an over head shot, allowing consumers to almost peer into the box.”


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Category Captains 2024