Kotimaista Packaging Is Made For The Finnish Food Lover

by Jessica Deseo on 01/15/2021 | 4 Minute Read

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Editorial photograph

1) The challenge and objectives

The vast majority of Finns value domestically produced food for its quality and purity.

However, many are reluctant to pay more for domestic products. The Kotimaista brand (the name means domestic in Finnish), is targeted at the “Finnish food lover” in all of us, and thanks to its affordability, everyone can now buy them. Unfortunately consumers weren’t aware of the brand, which didn’t stand out in the shelf competition.

S Group, a Finnish retailing cooperative organisation, wanted to redesign the packaging concept of Kotimaista, which had been lagging behind in shelf competition and brand recognition. It had received poor grades for quality and taste and both usage rate (54%) and customer awareness (62%) were considerably lower than its competitors.

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Clear objectives were:

  • Position Kotimaista brand to become the reason to choose S Group markets; increase the usage rate from 54% to 75%.
  • Reach the same level of brand awareness as the most well-known private label brands, from 62% to 90%.
  • Develop the selection image of the grocery store; Affordability from 81% to 85% and Quality from 75% to 85%.
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Soon we realised that distinguishing from the visual noise of a store is only possible by simplifying the design, while preserving the signals important to the consumer. Customers want to do the grocery shopping painlessly by making easy choices.

Kotimaista brand wants to highlight domesticity in a fresh, trendy and positive way. The design should also communicate quality and safety.

As we had learned from the brief, the majority of the customers were looking for affordable quality domestic products. Therefore it was crucial to communicate the domesticity and affordable quality while having the same design language in all of the packaging categories to consumers spot them easily.

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More than 350 packages underwent a complete makeover within the timespan of 2 years, and still continues. The cornerstones of the design concept are blue as the main colour, delicious images, fun illustrations, clear product naming and custom typography. The hierarchy between these is built to be flexible in a way that suits each category. Each product recognisably represents the Kotimaista brand without compromising its category.

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Blue was used as the main colour in order to achieve recognisability in different categories and make shopping easier. Blue also communicates Finnish identity and increases the feeling of quality. Desirability was improved with portion images and illustrations, aiming to make even affordable domestic food look delicious.

The design concept was made to fit the commonly used packaging formats in order to keep the price low.

Only 12 weeks after launch 7% more customers were choosing Kotimaista during their last supermarket visit. Overall, the total sales reached +14% above the market index. Customers began favouring the brand and its reputation grew rapidly, from the 106th most valuable brand in 2019 to the 28th in 2020.

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According to a 2020 study about private label grocery brands, Kotimaista brand awareness has increased from 69% to 94% in the space of 12 months, taking the top 3 spot. Also usage rate increased from 54% to 86% in two years. The same study also ranked Kotimaista first in price, product info and domesticity, and second in taste and quality, where it had previously performed poorly.

Several creative solutions within the concept deviate from conventions, giving the impression of high quality despite the low price, thus withstanding examination all the way to the table.

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Editorial photograph

Today, consumers are most likely to recommend Kotimaista when it comes to private label grocery brands.

The order in the overall ratings in brand perception has changed drastically compared to the previous survey, as the top spot is now taken by Kotimaista (8.25), leaving Pirkka the second (8.04).

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