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London Design Partnership bags Lyons Decaffeinated tea bags.

London Design Partnership Bags Lyons Decaffeinated

Historically, the tea market has been one of the most conservative volume food and drink sectors. The tea drinking consumer is fiercely loyal to his or her choice of brand. Across the whole range, from the occasional tea drinker to the connoisseur, each takes great pride in the brand he or she chooses.

A good comparison with the pshchological approach the tea drinkers adopt is the Butter Market where all attendant emotions are the same - loyalty, pleasure taking and familiarity.

Against this background of resistance to change, Lyons decided to take the bold move of exploiting its established reputation in teas and the fast-increasing consumer demand for healthy food and drink, by introducing Lyons Decaffeinated Tea Bags.

The successful development of a new branded product requires the combination of three disciplines working together effectively: innovative marketing by the client, in this case Lyons; extensive research and an experienced design consultancy, in this case The London Design Partnership.

Research had shown that, whilst they were receptive to the idea of decaffeinated tea, consumers and retailers were prepared to give away very little in terms of product performance. This ensured that the tea-taste is, and had to be seen to be, virtually indistinguishable from whole tea. By extension, this meant that whilst selling in the volume sector, the product should occupy a premium position with a price to match - the equivalent, for example, of Gold Blend in the coffee sector.

Packaging design always plays a very significant role in achieving effective communication with the consumer. However, in the case of Lyons Decaffeinated Tea, the pack design would ultimately make or break the brand. It required an appreciation of the language of tea packaging and an understanding of all the elements consumers require from a real tea. The aim was to achieve a look and feel which ensured that retailers would merchandise the new product alongside mainstream brands rather than in speciality health sections of the store.

On the basis of the data which came out of research, The London Design Partnership identified three key communications objectives: First, that a Lyons Decaffeinated Tea Bag was real tea with an authentic, traditional tea flavour; secondly, that the brand possessed an added value, and thirdly, that it must project the same sociable values as the real tea.

In the majority of cases, packaging design requires the communication of a message which differentiates the product from its competition. In the language of tea packaging, however, major variations on the central tea properties would simply alienate consumers. It was vital the pack graphics provided consumers with sufficient visual clues so that it was recognised as a real tea. Two cups of tea and sections of a house plant confirm the social status of the drink while the physical shape and size of the pack conform to market dictates.

At the London Design Partnership we felt it was important to give the consumer a pack which communicated the real tea with added value, and health properties. To achieve this, a pale grey graduated background and deep blue type were used and the word `decaffeinated' was given a swirling `C' to create a specific brand equity. In combination, the pack graphics invite the purchaser to try tea with a difference.

Like all projects of this significance, the final pack did not go into production until it had been thoroughly researched and had received consumers' seal of approval. Just under twelve months later the brand is achieving exceptional sales and is listed by all of the major large supermarket chains. In addition, it is, as we had hoped, positioned on-shelf with the mainstream tea brands.

There have been a number of highly successful new product development exercises undertaken by us recently, such as Snack Shots, John West Microwave Meals and Purrfect cat food. All have been the result of careful research, innovative marketing and the effective use of packaging design as a means of communicating with consumers.

Last year, the Design Business Association ran the first ever Design Effectiveness Awards, in which the London Design Partnership won one of the top awards. Packaging was the best supported of all the categories, and the results of the use of good packaging were quite staggering. Sales increases of 300 percent were recorded on some products, while established brands competing in the static markets were enjoying sales increases of 20 to 30 percent.

Lyons Decaffeinated Tea Bags is one example of carving out a new market by the development of an innovative new product. There is no question that more food manufacturers need to look at new product development as a way of keeping ahead of competition.

PHOTO : The finished pack for Lyons Decaffeinated Tea Bags
COPYRIGHT 1990 Food Trade Press Ltd.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lewis, Barbara
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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