Archive for October 2013

Eastern promises

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to attend market research with consumers in Indonesia and Vietnam. These are representative of each side of a well-known divide in attitudes between Far East societies, known as ‘Chopstick’ and ‘non-Chopstick’ cultures. I’ll let you work out the differences, but the starting point for this journey was…

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Memories of Home

Feeding and fueling the Expats is high on the list for Singapore supermarkets, at least those in the business district. The Expats are many and varied, so the shelves are filled with lots of brands from ‘home’, and that could be anywhere from Japan to Scotland. French and Italian brands show up quite a lot…

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Alien soup

Cantonese Soup Packs on Shelf in Asia

Ah that’s better, a shelf full of products I can’t read and don’t recognise. There’s something deeply symbolic about Chinese characters (that’s what they call a truism!), but especially when hanging vertically. I asked a friend of mine for further explanation and learned that this is the traditional way of writing, though the horizontal option…

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Smart essentials

Dried Fruit Snacks

These private label packs caught my eye for several reasons, not least for the name of the store. Cold Storage doesn’t specialise in chilled or frozen goods, yet the name does have a certain ring of quality that I suspect is magnified when English is your second (or third) language. The packs also do better…

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Cosmetic language

We all recognise the power of the phrase ‘Laboratoires Garnier, Paris’, replete as it is with the semiotic power combo of Frenchness and science. Here in Singapore there are quite a lot of ‘L’apostrophe’ brands for the same reason, and in case you didn’t get it we’ll call this one ‘L’Action’ so you know it…

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Happy bread

Despite the high levels of chilled distribution in Singapore there’s clearly a need for products to remain fresh on ambient shelves too. This local bread proudly announces its Japanese ingredients and ‘Fresh Dot’ technology, which is a freshness indication provided by that turquoise tag inside. Reading that long list of benefits delivered in the first…

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Cha Cha Chic Choc

Chocolate Snacks

There’s a thin line between fitting in with market codes and copying the leading brand. I guess when the leading brand is the market code (as is often the case in confectionery), it’s a tough call for the lawyers. Here in Indonesia there are no prizes for guessing what’s inside that red pack of Chic…

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Odd shape for a cow

Cimory Drinkable Yogurt on a Supermarket Shelf

No shortage of black-splodges on milk packs throughout the world of course, but this one caught my eye for a different reason: The shrink-sleeve graduates beautifully to a flavourful pastel colour that really gets the taste-buds going. In the hand the square bottle with an embossed square near the base is a bit odd, but…

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Mouth entertainment

Seaweed snacks on shelf in Asia

In Western Europe kids tend to like a small and fairly predictable range of flavours and textures but in Asia things are a little different. Like garlic flavour crispy seaweed, for example. Tao Kae Noi (Little Boss) is a Thai brand that’s been around for 9 years and made its owner a billionaire. Now growing…

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