Reinventing what Heinz means to consumers | #BehindTheBrand

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Kraft Heinz is a brand synonymous with two cupboard staples: beans and ketchup. Yet, the 150-year-old company is keen not to rest on its laurels and sees innovation as a core part of its business. The strategic design firm, Designit, worked with Kraft Heinz’s New Ventures unit to create, design and launch its latest product innovation. SOSU is a new meal kit and cooking range that bridges the richness of Pan-Asian regional cuisine. 

We spoke to James Buchanan, Executive Director at Designit, about the consumer research behind bringing this new product innovation and how they identified various cultural tensions that exist in food right now to identify the innovation sweet spot.

What was the original brief from Kraft Heinz


Kraft Heinz New Ventures, the unit that incubates and fosters innovation within Kraft Heinz brought Designit in to co-create new brands in clear strategic territories defined by the company. 

It was important that any new brand we developed had the potential to be scaled, becoming just as well-lovedas existing Kraft Heinz staple products. This brief required big ideas, innovative thinking, and an open minded, entrepreneurial client with a big vision.

Describe the purpose of the product and its target audience? 


SOSU is a new range of meal kits and cooking ingredients for people that want to experiment with flavours, without cooking from scratch. The range bridges the richness of pan-Asian regional cuisine with the practicality of meals you can make in 15 minutes, catered towards consumers with culinary ambitions but not much time for cooking. 

Our iterative consumer research tracked changing consumer needs around food, and through analysis we identified cultural tensions that existed in food and consumer interests. That’s why we launched the range with the  Japanese and Korean lines, both designed to address UK consumers evolving pallet and culinary ambitions

What was your thinking behind the rebranding solution? 


The meal kit product category was dominated by restaurant and heritage brands using outdated visuals. For SOSU’s creative direction, the opportunity was wide open to disrupt the status quo. 

We wanted to create a brand that had space for a range of cuisines, but most importantly, we wanted to avoid overused cultural stereotypes and visual cliches. To create products which authentically engaged with these cultures while avoiding stereotypical pitfalls we used iterative consumer research and cultural analysis, as well as pictures and inspiration from trips to Tokyo, Seoul, and Bangkok. We analysed them and agreed that the design quality was excellent and that would be the direction to go.

For SOSU we crafted a neutral yet elegant and modern design for the packaging, using distinctive colour palettes to represent the specific regions that the recipes are from. The selected font also brought a strong, fresh character to the packaging while avoiding any archetypal symbolism or imagery.

Did you learn anything new during the project?


The whole project was a learning experience but there were some really interesting takeaways from our consumer and cultural research process.

We asked consumers to hold food diaries and our follow up interviews revealed all sorts of unexpected reasons behind why people eat what they eat. Most interestingly many people cited choosing their food based on how it makes them feel, and how they think their choice will be perceived by others. 

We found that people looking to move towards a more plant based diet find it easier to stick to this during the week when they’re cooking on their own. Our research helped us understand that this, in part, is because when we cook for others, we’re more inclined to opt for a meat dish as a way to show how much we care for our guests.

As typically the more expensive option, meat has connotations to social status and therefore eating meat is deeply social. It was clear to us that plant based options won’t win at the weekend until they develop their own social associations and rituals.

What do you hope SOSU achieves for Kraft Heinz?


First and foremost with every product we work on we hope people love it. Utlimately we hope SOSU’s range can expand and explore new cuisines, extending the range and variety of Kraft Heinz and Amoy products that are a daily fixture in people’s lives.   

Credit list for the work?

James Buchanan, Executive Director

Pablo Alaejos, Design Director

Sandra García, Brand Designer

Alex Gray, Brand Designer

Emma Kukkonen, Service Designer

Hannah Mills, Researcher


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