Starbucks Branded Coffee Creamer Package Design

Industrial Design | Package design

“Within six months of acquiring the license, we successfully launched the first wave of new products. In 2019, we launched 29 Starbucks products into more than 40 countries and generated incremental sales of more than CHF 300 million.”

– Nestlé Annual Review 2019 (pg. 4)

Situation

In 2018, Nestlé paid Starbucks $7.15 billion for the rights to sell Starbucks products around the world in what was called the “Global Coffee Alliance.” Nestlé existed as the biggest coffee company in the world, however financial dealings among competitors had narrowed Nestlé’s lead in the market. This deal between the two companies would solidify Nestlé’s position in the category through Starbucks’ highly popular brand equity. These new products needed to be developed quickly and make an impact in their respective categories.

Challenge

Our team was contracted by Nestlé to bring to life and differentiate a Starbucks-branded Coffee Creamer that could compete within the category. The focus of our work was on the structural package design of the product. This package design was a high priority for Nestlé and required a six-month turnaround for highly technical structural design work that would typically require two or more years.

Approach

An integral part of this project’s success was our team’s ability to integrate with the manufacturing apparatus of our client. Our staff includes industrial engineers who understand the practical realities and high standards of manufacturing plants. This project necessitated manufacturing in a semi-aseptic environment, which provided creative challenges for innovation since this machinery must adhere to strict health and safety standards. Our team of designers facilitated a meeting with manufacturing plant operators and engaged in a dialogue to understand the possibilities and scope of potential prototypes.

Collaborating with manufacturing plants resulted in the development of a new type of closure consumers could understand with a single glance. This new closure could be operated one-handed by popping open, pouring, and tapping back close. It replicated the effortless and intuitive coffeehouse experience of Starbucks — where functionality is prioritized and everything is easy to use. Consumers found it to be sophisticated and contemporary, which differentiated the Starbucks Coffee Creamer from competitors who tend toward busy graphical designs.

In fulfillment of our contract, our team provided CAD documents to Nestlé for the industrial design of the Starbucks Coffee Creamer. Graphical design was provided by Starbucks, however our team developed the visual strategy that informed the structure and graphical branding.

Result

The Starbucks Coffee Creamer was received positively by consumers and considered a success in Nestlé’s 2019 annual report. The following year, Starbucks Coffee Creamer was listed #4 on the IRI’s New Product Pacesetters Food & Beverage list for 2020 after reaching $105 million in sales. The product — which is priced at a premium to represent Starbucks’ brand of higher quality — remains a leader among coffee creamers. Analysts have praised the innovative packaging for the product’s success.

This project was completed by 4sight inc., now part of Product Ventures

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