When we make consumer choices based on packaging, it’s usually a subconscious or barely conscious decision. For instance, when I choose Coke over Pepsi, it has nothing to do with the taste of the product (I preferred Pepsi in a blind taste test I took years ago) but rather the Coke can’s red color and logo have for so long subliminally symbolized “refreshment” to me that my eye and hand automatically seek it out. Similarly, when you choose Tide over All, or Aunt Jemima over Mrs. Butterworth, or Nestle’s Crunch over Hershey’s Crackle, or when you grab L’Eggs or Kleenex cubes, is it a matter of real superiority, or has the packaging somehow won you over?
Some products have packaging that more directly calls out to us. When Life Savers were introduced 100 years ago, their neat rolls of hole-in-the-middle candies were an instant fit for everyone’s pocket or handbag.
Similarly, Pringles were all about packaging, and distancing themselves from messy, greasy bags of chips that could break into pieces and quickly get stale.
And I have a hard time not buying The Farmer’s Cow milk. The cow on the carton recruits milk purchasers just as surely as Uncle Sam once recruited young men and women for service in the armed forces.
(And let’s not forget those special products that are ONLY about packaging. Would anyone buy PEZ candies if they didn’t come in their own dispensers?)
All of which brings me to the latest packaging marvel to enter my life: Talenti gelato. After a fair amount of testing (Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Belgian Milk Chocolate, Black Cherry Amarena, etc.), I can say that Talenti is a superior product, one I would buy for that reason alone despite its stiff price. But Talenti comes in sturdy plastic screw-top containers!
What a shapely, elegant little package! For me, it was love at first screw. The revolutionary lid maintains freshness in a way cardboard tops can’t. When you’re done (it won’t take long) you can recycle or reuse. (I’m sure “Hints from Heloise” could come up with dozens, if not hundreds, of uses for the empty container.) I’ve always felt that you must take beauty where you find it. For me, most recently, it was in the freezer aisle at my local Stop & Shop.