Bending the rules, Fanta twists its way to a new bottle design
- Coca-Cola's Fanta has introduced a new spiral bottle that looks as if it's been twisted by hand, according to the beverage maker.
- The new design process began in 2012. The company found the previous Fanta "splash" bottle looked like many others in the marketplace and no longer stood out.
- In carefully designing the new packaging, Coca-Cola said there is more pressure in a carbonated beverage bottle than a car tire, meaning if there is a difference in strength of the plastic, some sections become weak and can pop out or deform."The process of designing a bottle like this is very, very restrictive," said Gregory Bentley, packaging innovator at Coca-Cola Great Britain. "With a carbonated drink, the bottle has to be symmetrical, or it’ll bend.”
Fanta, Coca-Cola's biggest brand after Coke, was facing a challenge that has beset many other products in the food and beverage space: How to separate themselves from their competitors. The fact that the company persevered for five years, went through hundreds of test models and rebuffed criticism that their idea, because it wasn't symmetrical, wouldn't work, is proof of the lengths some companies will go to stand out.
In recent months, a lengthy list of companies have made packaging changes, many of them temporary, to help boost sales. Nutella used algoritims to create a limited-edition of collectible jars in a variety of eye-catching colors, shapes and patterns, including zig-zags, polka dots and splotches. The 7 million different packaging designs sold out within a month. And Budweiser is re-releasing a lineup of patriotic packaging this summer to help raise money for armed forces members and their families.
Label overhauls are often an effective way to increase sales. Coca-Cola started its "Share a Coke" campaign in 2011 where people could personalize the beverage with their name, and in 2014 saw an increase in sales after it ran it in the U.S. Nestle's Lean Cuisine redesign helped drive a sales increase of $58 million in the following year.
To be sure, packaging has two uses: to hold the food or beverage and to catch the consumer's eye on the shelf. In the case of soda, there's often an entire aisle in a grocery store carrying dozens of drinks. When companies update a product, such as by adding functionality — particularly in the form of convenience — that can add value for the consumer and make the item stand out. Shoppers may see the final product as “premium.”
“Consumers desire package designs that are more adapted to their needs than ever before,” Carla Fantoni, vice president of communications for Tetra Pak U.S. and Canada, told Food Dive last December. “Attributes like functionality, shape and graphic design have the ability to make a package appear premium in the eyes of the consumer.”
Fanta is smart to overhaul its packaging. The new design is likely to generate buzz, particularly on social media sites popular with millennials, and help separate the product from its sea of competitors. An increase in sales is likely to follow. For a soda industry that is hurting as consumers shun the product in favor or healthier teas, flavored waters and other beverages, a unique look could add some much-welcome fizz to an 80-year old brand.
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