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Fast food: It’s what’s on the outside that counts

Fast food: It’s what’s on the outside that counts

Welcome to the latest in our marketing blog series. In this blog we look at takeaway packaging design and its importance for marketing.

People are visual. We are attracted, or repulsed, by colour and the visual makeup of a product. It’s why platforms like Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat have proved so powerful for brands, and food and drink companies in particular. All you need do is look at the 244,260,154 posts (as of 1 November 2017) tagged on Instagram as ‘food’ to see how strong the human urge to share their eating experiences is.

These photos are amazing publicity for a venue. Younger people aren’t always going to use Tripadvisor or Google to decide where to head for drinks and dinner. They’re going to go to Instagram and check out real meal snaps and make their decision based on the best looking dish they find.

Now though, more people are eating at home, ordering their food online or via their mobiles for collection of delivery. This puts a spanner in the works. If people aren’t eating in, it follows that there is less opportunity for you to serve up a piece of food art, primed for insta-photography. If photos aren’t being shared online, your social presence might shrink. Not ideal in today’s digital world.  

Packaging provides an answer. It’s often said that we eat with our eyes, and that’s true. Our eyes communicate to our brain what food will taste like, even before we’ve taken our first bite. Peter Barham, professor of physics at Bristol, told the Guardian: “if we start by seeing a bright orange drink, we are very likely to think it will taste of oranges. Provided the taste is at least somewhat sweet and a little acid we will say it is orange – even if it is just coloured, sweetened water or apple juice.” Because packaging acts as an extension of the food itself, it makes sense that its appearance, and the way it is filled, will impact the overall taste experience. It does not have to be a blank, kraft brown with food inside piled so that each element intermingles unattractively. If you want your food to taste good, it – packaging included – needs to look good first.

Look to Coca-Cola for an example of a packaging design known and loved the world over. In 2015, its “Share a Coke” campaign proved its labels could be made even more appealing and shareable. The simple addition of a name to the bottle sleeve caused a flurry of social posts and made it one of the best-performing marketing campaigns in Coca-Cola’s history.

Turning to what’s inside the box; on YouTube, unboxing videos are increasingly popular. Toys seem to be most appealing; Argos’ unboxing video for Hey Duggee has notched up over one million views so far, but food gets its fair share of attention. This video of the ‘Unboxing of Sushi Rolls from Takeaway Shop’ has received over 28,000 views, while a ‘Maharaja bhog veg thali box home delivered’ film attracted over 68,000 views. What do the two fast food videos have in common? Attractive and branded takeaway packaging as well as neat, cleanly presented food.

It doesn’t even matter if your customers aren’t prolific social media users, you should still attempt to produce appealing takeaway packaging and fill it neatly. Those customers will likely have friends and family they can recommend your venue to; you should be doing everything you can to make sure that happens.

Packaging is an excellent marketing tool for any business. Printing boxes or bags with your branding and including business cards in takeaway bags firmly embeds the name of your restaurant into the mind of the buyer. Going further with quirky takeaway packaging design encourages customers to spread the word about your business. Your customers are your best advert. If they are saying positive things about your takeaway product, their friends and followers will be easier to convert in the future.

Preoday stands out from the crowd by offering businesses design and branding services alongside their technology platform. Guidance is part of the package, while full digital design is available when needed. To find out what other extras come with being a Preoday client, get in touch now on hello@preoday.com.

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