Pushing the boundaries of creativity in fresh produce

These days image is everything in the fresh produce industry, as consumers become more brand conscious and aware of what they are eating and where the product comes from, not to mention how sustainable it is. Specialists agree that the brand stories and images conveyed on the packaging are of paramount importance.

Igor Moulder, Creative Director at Virtual Hub design agency has been in the business for many years and has seen how much things have changed. “When I started in the fresh produce industry in 1996 it was run by big companies who were slow to move on global consumer developments. Around 15 years ago things changed rapidly when growers started to market their produce.”

“It used to be only the technical qualities of the carton which growers had to think about. However, when growers became more aware of marketing their own products it really opened up the market, and the brand story and end packaging became really important. Modern consumers need to trust a brand and trust the quality that goes with it. They also like to know the story behind the product – where does it come from, is the supply chain transparent, what is the situation with regards to ethics and sustainability, etc.?”

Originally from South Africa Igor has worked with some of the best-known companies designing logos, website, brochures etc. One of his long-standing clients is Cool Fresh.

“Cool Fresh has built a credible story behind their fruit and are also strongly promoting corporate responsibility by supporting large-scale educational, sport and community development projects in South Africa. This gives back to the communities and gives the consumer a good feeling when buying the product.”

“Today, digital marketing and fresh produce need to get together, as there is a big gap to fill. Most people use mobile phones to search these days, so the fresh produce industry needs to become mobile friendly. The fruit sector has been slow to move but things are changing. Having said this, we cannot just rely on digital - print and old-fashioned networking are still important. You can have 1000 friends on facebook but it means nothing if it cannot be turned into sales. People are still people and need to see things and feel emotions. There is lots of emotion behind buying fruit and we need to give this to the consumer while still providing price and quality to the retailer.”

According to Igor it is a case of juggling time and money when designing a new brand. The grower has to like it, it has to be within budget, it has to be acceptable to the retailer and it has to be appealing to the consumer.

Corporate identity is very important, and most companies like to stick to the same logo and style. This year Igor worked on a new concept with Cool Fresh where communicating the company’s strategy was given a whole new look, whilst keeping the old logo but almost hiding it under the new corporate message. “The idea was that if nothing changes, people stop seeing ‘the real message’ after a while. Cool Fresh wanted to create something different and create a talking point, while still maintaining a very clear corporate and strategic identity and message. This was certainly the case with the company’s ‘Connecting Fresh’ approach to this year’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin.”

Igor admits that his ‘out of the box’ style does not fit every company. Yet, in the very competitive retail and consumer world it is important for any brand owner to stand out amongst the competition. Igor believes that innovative fresh produce companies should look at how branding and marketing is done in the fashion business. Igor closes: ‘The Dutch call it ‘gluren bij de buren’. Take a look at how other sectors are managing their marketing. Do not be scared of trying new things!’.

To view Igor's portfolio click here

Igor may be contacted on igor@virtual-hub.net 

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