Two days ago, while cleaning my house and doing laundry my throat became a little parched. So, I reached into my refrigerator, picked up a package of coconut water, poured myself a glass, and took a sip. A moment later I spit the drink I thought was coconut water all over the kitchen. It turns out I mistakenly poured a glass of chicken broth.
Why would I make such grave mistake? The packages. The packages and their designs. Take a look:
The two boxes essentially have the same design: blueish boxes with imagery framed in white on the front. It’s no wonder I made this mistake.
Now, you might be asking yourself, why don’t I just pay more attention next time? Sure, I can pay attention, but that’s not the point – I shouldn’t have to pay attention to something so trivial. The quicker I can grab something I want from the refrigerator that the better.
There is a problem when two very different products somehow end up looking so similar. The FDA maintains a set of requirements that food preparers must adhere to and these requirements outline how food must be labeled. While I applaud the requirements, I wish the powers that be would go a bit further to be of greater utility.
Foods should be color coded based on their category. For example, juices would be colored blue box, and liquids used for food preparation are yellow. Another example, organic foods would have green labels, while conventional foods would have a brown labels. Creating this sort of visual language would be helpful to customers.
I also think this would be helpful for brands as well. Encouraging a consistent look & feel can help brands differentiate themselves be creatively relating their brand to a category. So, how about it?