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Beyond Products: 5 innovative product designs of FMCG brands

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Many traditional marketers still believe that getting seen is the first step in the journey to becoming successful. This is where comes in packaging and the impact of first impressions.
Unconventional, innovative packaging does not just make a product easily discover-able, but also helps to create brand recall in the long run. For those engaged in the creative side of product and packaging design, the good part is that modern consumers now appear to have a stronger appetite for innovation and thus a smart mix of design sensibility and product differentiation can make for smoother sailing in the rough waters of FMCG marketing.
While in India not many brands are focusing on innovating the product packaging here are a few FMCG brands which have succeeded in recent times — at least in drawing eyeballs with innovative packaging:
Company: Tata Global Beverages
What: Tata Tea Fusion
Design Approach:
Featuring a dual-pouched innovative pack and jar, Tata Tea Fusion came up with an exclusive compartmentalised packaging with its innovative dual storage facility that can store two different types of tea in a single pack, preserving the freshness of each. The fusion pack is available in two variants – Superior Assam & Green Tea and Superior Assam & Kenyan Tea.
Tata Tea Fusion is packaged in a divided 250g pouch with a larger portion of “Superior Assam” and a smaller quantity of “green tea enhancer.” The tea is also available as a combination of “Superior Assam” and Kenyan black tea. The tea also comes in 250g jars nested with smaller quantities of either green or Kenyan.
“Fusion is the result of extensive market surveys that have provided us with the insight of creating tea which can be customised as per the consumers’ liking. It is a product that caters to consumers who are open to experimentation while not compromising on the tea quality. Apart from featuring our superlative Assam Tea which has continued to be a market champion, Green and Kenyan are the best of the selections that brings quality and taste together”, says, Head, marketing, Tata Tea, Rishi Chadha.
Company: Hector Beverages
What: Ethnic drinks brand Paper Boat
Design approach:
Paper Boat is a product of Bengaluru-based Hector Beverages which also produces Tzinga (energy drink). Launched in 2013, the drinks became instantly a hit because of ingredient- nostalgia that it played around and its innovative packaging. The company put Pune-based Elephant Design Pvt. Ltd, one of India’s largest independent integrated design consultancy firm, on work to come up with the packaging.
Explaining the design philosophy, Ashwini Deshpande, Co-founder, Director, Elephant Design says, “For differentiation and authenticity, standee pouches in a substrate that look and feel like paper have been chosen. The product form plays with the quality of grip, hold, opening ease and pouring action” .
“The packaging graphics reflect simplicity and purity of the drink inside. Its curvilinear profile appearance is friendly, memorable and the pilfer-proof winged cap is comfortable to hold, turn and replace as well as aligned to the brand visual language. Flat colours, simple shapes and a pack language reminiscent of the childhood landscape, all contribute to the delightful nostalgia that the brand is all about,” she adds.
Paper Boat packaging also recently won at The India Story Design Awards in Packaging Design category.
Materials used:
The pouches are made of a four-part laminate that makes the pack withstand extremes in pressure and heat. The pouches have a 10 per cent lower carbon footprint and generally lower overall environmental impact than glass bottles, Tetra Pack cartons and PET bottles.
Company: Synthite Industries Limited
What: SPRIG (gourmet food ingredients)
Design approach:
The conceptualisation, design and development of the packaging structure were done by the company’s in-house product design team. They subsequently worked with an external agency to integrate the graphic design and label development to complete the product packaging.
“Light and moisture are mortal enemies of spices, so storing spices in transparent containers or plastic bags or jars is not advisable. We, therefore, had to find an alternative material. And that is how the idea of canisters came into being,” says Vishal Menon, Chief Development Officer of Synthite Industries.
“An interesting feature of our aluminum canisters is that the product cannot be put away without capping. The product will stand vertically only on its capped end. Our consumer trials validated that our unique design subtly served as a memory aid. Moreover, the footprint of this canister is small, thereby taking up less space in a user’s pantry,” he adds.
Materials used:
The company used high grade aluminum for packaging. The aluminum is crafted into a ‘seamless canister’ through a special impact extrusion process.
Company: Hindustan Unilever Limited
What: Indulekha Bringha Hair Oil ‘Selfie’ Bottle
Design approach:
HUL snapped up Indulekha from the Kerala-based Mosons group for Rs 330 crore last year. However, the Monson group has been quite innovative with the products packaging and marketing since the start. To make life easier for consumers, the group introduced the ‘selfie bottle’ in 2014 which enabled application of oil directly to the scalp.
The patented comb-shaped cap has reportedly increased sales by nearly 30 per cent for the company.
Company: Desai Brothers Ltd
What: Mother’s Recipe pickle in doypack
Design approach:
While pickles are traditionally sold in a glass jar, Mother’s Recipe decided to come up with a doypack to increase the product’s shelf-life and make it convenient to keep. The packaging was conceptualised jointly by the marketing and in-house packaging team along with creative agency Triton Communication, Mumbai.
“The idea was to maintain and thereby increase the product’s shelf-life, reduce carbon footprint and develop a pack design that is economical as well as easy to transport,” says P. Rajan Mathews, Vice President – Marketing & Sales, Desai Brothers Ltd – Food Division (Mother’s Recipe). “Hence, the flexi standee pouch was best suited as well as the economical option for pickle packaging; it offers maximum graphical display and longer shelf life as compared to other rigid packs (glass bottles or PET jars),” he adds.
Materials used:
Three-layer laminated film — Polyester, Metalized polyester and Polyethylene — was used for this standee pouch.

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