'Contemporization' is name of Kraft's game

An interview with Jonathan Denham, vice president for package design and brand innovation, Kraft Foods

What are some recent examples of packaging development at Kraft?

Back to Nature [snacks, cereals, nuts, bars], which was done fairly early on when I came here, I thought was a great piece of work, because it started to get into a new way of thinking about our packaging. The role of the packaging was to carry a new message to the consumer.

Crystal Light, because I think that was a brand that was overdue for contemporization, and I think it had to reestablish itself in relevance to its consumer. It’s much more modern, contemporary and focused on the female consumer.

I would also say Miracle Whip. Again, this is a traditional brand that has been a very good brand for Kraft for a long time. The brand was very bold, because they realized they needed to appeal to a broader and younger consumer segment. The role of [packaging] design was bringing that to life and stamping its authority in that category.

With Oreo, we looked at areas that were important for that brand in some of the other [sales] channels we work in. We did some design work that flowed from retail into the alternative channels, and it was incredibly relevant for their business.

The last area I wanted to touch on is a tribute to our colleagues at Cadbury, and some of the work they’ve done there. I would say Trident has been very successful at this point. I’m British, and the historical heritage of Cadbury and how it has been consistently evolved is a great tribute to the strength of that brand.

Are there any packaging design principles that extend across the Kraft portfolio?

There are some broad principles that revolve around design language. It wasn’t just words, it was thinking about what are the trends that are going on in food and how do you reduce that to a set of principles by which you can think of modernizing and contemporizing your brands. It’s really looking at where is the industry, what are some of the trends in the industry, and how do you leverage that and translate it into your brands.

How can companies like Kraft take advantage of the trend of people being forced to eat at home more due to the economy?

A It is a huge opportunity. We’ve started to leverage some of those principles I talked about before: how do we contemporize the look of our recipes and how we communicate them. It affects everything from components of a recipe all the way through to a complete meal....We’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about how do we contemporize, whether it’s Kraft mayo, Bull’s Eye barbecue dressing, A1 Steak Sauce, Miracle Whip, and so on, all the way to Mac & Cheese. That’s been hugely driven by design and how it shows up on the packaging in the store. Through those kinds of areas of focus and that contemporization throughout design and packaging, we’re trying to become more relevant to consumers who are going to be using our products more frequently.  F&BP