Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Economy Food Ranges

Britains largest supermarkets all have a low cost range of products. The names vary, but they essentially mid-low quality products for a cheap price. The names denote that the range is the lowest price they sell - Tesco - Value, Asda - Smart Price, Sainsbury's - Basics and Waitrose - Essentials.
Sainsbury's and Tesco have the largest range of value products - from fresh foods to store cupboard goods, household products and personal hygiene, they even sell economy alcohol. Asda has a more limited range - they sell a value version of most of their products, but they do not sell budget alcohol. Waitrose Essentials are the most recent brand to add a 'value' line - this range currently covers 1000 products, but is due to expand. The cost of the value products is of course in line with the cost of the medium level products - therefore Waitrose have to most expensive economy range.

I have managed to get direct comparisons of Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda products, and a few photographs of the Waitrose range.

The Waitrose range uses a very plain font for their logo/name, it is also lower case which implies innocents but also that it is a lesser product. The images are really engaging - they are all hand drawn and water colour painted; this gives every product a unique imagery, and shows a great deal of variety within the range. The style of drawing implies that these products are still good quality - the illustration would obviously have taken a lot of time and care.
The use of colour is also appropriate - the colour of the product name is taken from the image - creating a lot of different colours within the range, but creating a complimentary design for each product. The overall range does not have a 'brand' colour, so using complimentary colours is ideal. The use of the white background is very good - it keeps all of the designs looking very clean and fresh, and allows the illustrations to really stand out. Overall this packaging is very successful - it is well executed and appealing, but it doesn't try to go overboard.
These ranges by Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda, are all quite different, but they share certain traits.
1. The all use a brand colour. Sainsbury's use their signature orange, tesco the red and blue from their logo and Asda use their bright green. The amount of colour on each product varies. The teso products only use colour - no black printing. The Asda range uses black and green on the front of the packaging, whereas Sainsbury's stick to only orange for the main design and use black for the information section.

2. Logo - All of the products clearly show the logo on the front of the product. It is not the first thing in the hierarchy, it is kept low key, but relevant.

Using the hand drawn illustration and type
creates a friendly feeling toward the packaging. The overall design is just one colour, but does not look cheap or too lower quality. The overall design is very engaging, the use of phrases below the name of the product help the buyer to understand why the product is cheaper. The Self Raising Flour reads - A little less refined, still rises to the occasion - this is an indication as the why the product is lower quality, but assures the buyer that it is almost/equally as good as a more expensive product.
A very successful design overall; it engages, it informs and it reassures the buyer that lower priced products are not necessarily worse quality.

This packing isn't as engaging as Sainsbury's, initially it certainly feels cheaper. Some but not all of the products use a photograph of the product to illustrate the content. In some cases these are tinted red - which is a bit weird and off putting. The overall design is very basic, sticking to two colours and limited information. This packaging is probably very cheap to produce, but also has a very cheap feeling. Informative, but not eye-catching.

For a start, Asda seem to have a continuity issue. Their products are either green and white, or red and white. The green design carries the brand colour and makes it clear that the product is Asda own brand. The red design is DULL and carries no indication that it is an asda product other than the black logo at the top. This needs to be addressed, and all products bear the same livery. The designs themselves are basic, limited colours and information. Some of the green branded products carry a vector image of the product to give a better indication of what it is - though the name of the product is already quite clear. Overall, this brand looks cheap, is cheap and can't get away from the limiting design used. Not great.

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