Krusteaz is making it easier to shop the bake-mix aisle by introducing a new package design—one that stands apart from the existing sea-of-sameness and inspires more people to use its pancake and bake mixes. As the largest brand within family-owned business Continental Mills, Inc., Krusteaz partnered with Tether to establish a new brand platform reflective of current trends, relevant to a wider audience and, ultimately, to strengthen its challenger-brand status.

Persuading shoppers to choose one bake-mix brand over another is no easy feat. Decisions are often tied to memories of the brand that mom used, promotional pricing or flavor variety. In an industry dominated by food brands owned by conglomerates, such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Aunt Jemima and others, there are few differentiators more influential than the trust that comes from legacy-brand familiarity. In a category where product differentiators are hard for consumers to identify, the challenge becomes even more difficult.

The Krusteaz story began in 1932 when a group of women from a Seattle bridge club created a just-add-water pie crust that was an industry first. Today, thebproduct line includes pancakes, waffles, muffins, quick breads and flatbreads, cookies, dessert bars, cornbread, crumb cakes and a line of Gluten Free products. The brand is owned by Continental Mills, Inc., is a third generation, family-owned maker of some of breakfast, baking and snack brands located in Tukwila, WA.

After 18 months of planning, consumer insights research and strategic packaging design, the end result is a 70+ SKU packaging refresh that reflects Krusteaz new brand positioning.  Before going to market, Krusteaz sought to validate the success of this new design. They engaged in multiple research methods, including traditional and non-traditional neuroscience research.

Tether and the Krusteaz team relied on consumer insights and science to confirm that the new packaging was conjuring up the positive responses expected from both their loyal followers and potential switchers. The resulting data was actionable; it confirmed that the new design was on strategy. The baking experience comes to life on the new Krusteaz shelf set; the design articulates emotional value in a category of almost indistinguishable competitors and satisfied the consumer’s need for a delicious, authentic and inviting experience worth savoring.

Recognizing that social platforms (such as Pinterest and Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos) and television shows (such as The Great British Bakeoff and Masterchef) are ushering in a return to baking as a fun and fulfilling pastime, Krusteaz initiated a rebrand to make its promise—its ability to increase human-connection, creative expression and feelings of childhood nostalgia—clearer to consumers.

 “Tether was an integral part of the team that not only helped us understand how to leverage this strategy to appeal to consumers, but also how to bring it to life on pack,” explains Melissa Washko, Continental Mills director of marketing.

 Strategically positioning Krusteaz to resonate with the needs of current and new users meant closing the gap between the baking experience and the product packaging.

 “When shopping the grocery aisle, a consumer typically has three seconds to understand what a brand is trying to communicate. This message is usually conveyed through just three or four visual elements,” explains Steve Barrett, Tether executive creative director.

 This makes it tough for other bake-mix brands—even those with a long-standing history—to gain mind share. Understanding current research trends, the team recognized that the target audience is looking for authenticity in how a brand portrays itself. Celebrating this provided Krusteaz an opportunity to differentiate itself from competitors. Tether encouraged the brand to bring its emotional value to store shelves—thereby increasing a consumer’s feeling of connection, while improving brand awareness, recall and trial.

 “This shopper’s experience is driven by how a product looks, feels and tastes—so we needed to appeal to both the conscious mind as well as the unconscious: creating emotional drivers that elicit delicious taste, the warmth and smell of an oven baking, along with the feelings of love and pride when serving homemade goods,” Barrett says. “Our hope was to use imagery that invoked the senses, leaving consumers in a more positive emotional state.”

Introducing a new look that uses mouth-watering photography to evoke the warm feelings associated with eating baked goods is the first in a series of consumer touchpoints to propel the brand forward. Shelf-talkers will also accompany the new product release. This shift should improve Krusteaz brand recognition and secure a place for Krusteaz pancakes, waffles, muffins, cornbread, cinnamon rolls or cookies in American pantries.

“Unveiling this new packaging is the first step in bringing our brand strategy to life,” Wasko says. “We will further communicate Krusteaz brand equity, using this design system to make the brand mark more easily recognizable across all touchpoints to help convey our point of difference to consumers.”

Consumers can expect to see the new packaging in major grocery stores nationwide throughout fall 2016. For more details, visit