Jun 30

Open Letter to the Industry

Posted by Wallentin in Uncategorized

During my 40 years at Nestlé, I was nicknamed “Mr Back Panel”, as the back of a pack interested me as much as the front. Why? Because I was never satisfied with the way the industry tackled this part of a pack.

I have always taken both the consumer’s and the company’s side. Regarding the latter, I refer to a recent article on this site about brand vs. company. I’ve always believed that, what is important for the consumer (on a food or drink pack), are informations such as cooking instructions, ingredients or simple nutritional data.

In constant pursuit of ameliorating this famous back panel, I’ll publish, this Autumn, a book entitled “Read my pack”.

To give an example of how bad it is today, I’ve selected a Swiss Coop pack (see ill.), but it could as well be one from Unilever, Migros, Nestlé or Aldi.

As any reader will see, the 5 point text about how to cook these raviolis has been given roughly half the space compared with the food profil, i.e. the nutritional information which I believe will be read by about 5% of the consumers only!

Furthermore, I learned, as a junior designer at Nestlé some 50 years ago, that a recipe without illustration is almost worth nothing. Here, it takes up precious space.

Last, but not least, I believe that today, the most important message on a back panel should be the company website, as it is there modern consumers are looking for information. Well, unfindable!

Maybe I’ve been a bit too negative in my comments, but I hope the reader gets my message: “make BIG and clear what is of real interest to the consumer”. You need no guidelines to do this, just common sense!

After having written the above, I found an even better worse example with the smallest cooking instructions I ever saw and where the key text about the vegan food could be twice as big if the brand were left out (it’s already on the front). Furthermore, if composed differently, the nutritional information could take up half the space only and still be very readable.


LW/June 2017

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