Dalston's Soda Company already had an extensive range of eCommerce packaging, but the brand was after packaging that would improve their customers’ e-Commerce experience.

Their main goals were to use the brand’s punchy branding to continue to make a visual impact, while at the same time improving the unboxing experience and give the product more protection.

Vibrant Visual Language

The new packaging for Dalston's (named after one of the hippest areas of London) evokes the punchy, vibrant street life is evoked in the soda company’s branding, which is bright and eye-catching.

The new branding had to play a key part in the boxes’ final forms. Combining the vast e-Commerce knowledge from the Smurfit Kappa experience center team with the fantastic in-house designers, a bespoke e-Commerce box was created that showcased the turntable design, harking back to Dalston’s famous music scene. 

It was decided that the boxes would feature three colors: black for impact, white for detailing, and a bold, flashy pink for the background. The print, of course, had to be accurate and full-coverage: the bold colors don’t allow for anything less. The boxes also must play a crucial role in the e-Commerce journey: they would be eye-catching when left on doorsteps and in kitchens, prompting people to find out more about the company.

The Opening Experience

One of the main requests from Dalston's was that Smurfit Kappa investigate how to make their boxes function without the use of secondary packaging materials. This was especially important given the cohesiveness of the turntable design: packaging tape would ruin the visual impact entirely. Plus, Smurfit Kappa’s research into customer behavior and preference show that people much prefer packaging that they can open without any help from tools. 

Consequently, the Smurfit Kappa experience center team came up with an opening design that combines double-sided tape with a perforated tear-off strip. They performed some tests to ensure that the strip was strong enough to stay together while tearing through double wall cardboard. Overall, this attention to detail from the team enhanced the unboxing experience, making it a frustration-free element of the customer journey. On top of that, it allowed the print to show off the design without tape getting in the way. Combined with the rest of Dalston’s excellent customer experience, the box plays a huge part in communicating the quality and care that goes into their products.

Assembly & Transit Protection 

Another requirement for Dalston’s was that the finished packaging should be easy to assemble, which would allow them to save time and labor hours.

One of the key factors when considering e-Commerce drinks packaging is the protection it offers the product when in transit. Smurfit Kappa was keen to ensure that the sparkling sodas had optimum protection alongside the frustration-free design. The Smurfit team took into consideration how the product would be handled in the supply chain, as well as the product weight and material themselves.

On top of that, it had to offer a great substrate, as the print is such a key element of the final design - and not something that Dalston’s Soda Company could compromise on. Ultimately, Smurfit Kappa established the best corrugated board type for this design. Tough enough to protect the cans inside, while smooth enough that it would retain the accuracy and vividness of the print.


The final factor to consider was how eco-friendly the boxes were. As Smurfit Kappa worked with an integrated model and had a full chain of custody over the box production, they were able to guarantee FSC certified materials were used. This means that not only are the boxes be made from eco-friendly material, but also fully recyclable - something made even more prominent by the lack of additional tape. Consumers are much more inclined to complete a task if there are fewer hurdles in the way - which means that they are less likely to recycle if they have to go through the effort of removing plastic tape, and vice versa.

“We wanted to increase the visual impact of our variety packs as well as provide effective protection for the drinks. Luckily, after being referred by an existing Smurfit Kappa customer who we know, we made contact with Smurfit Kappa in Barnstaple. The team there were a pleasure to work with, and they helped us achieve everything we were after from these boxes. Since we’ve had this latest packaging made, we have seen less damaged goods and received great customer feedback. We look forward to continuing to use Smurfit Kappa for our various packaging needs” Duncan O’Brien, founder of Dalston’s Soda.