What is authentic?

What is authentic?

Saying authentic does not equal being authentic, written with handwritten font on a Poster

We might as well start with the dictionary definition: 1 Of undisputed origin; genuine: authentic 14th-century furniture. 2 Made or done in the traditional or original way: authentic Italian meals. 3 True to one’s personality, spirit or character: an authentic blues singer. Over recent years we have witnessed a massive increase in consumers’ appetite for…

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Factory Food?

Several soup brands in Canning Jars in a Dutch supermarket

Here in Holland’s ‘marqt’, a knowingly cool modernisation of the Dutch for ‘market’ (markt), pretty much everything on shelf is from small, specialist, often organic brands. As an authentic Dutch staple food, soup is a prime candidate for the ‘made with love from the best ingredients story’, and as with my old favourite Bonne Maman…

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Nature’s not that idyllic

Part of the authenticity game is not being seen to try too hard, so the beautifully crafted design above might be pushing its luck. The muted colours and matt card work well, but that stapled, handwritten ‘shopping list’ seems a bit contrived, and the traditional pattern on the bowls doesn’t come in those colours. But…

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Bring back the pencils and stencils

Yeo yoghurt on supermarket shelf

Ah, our old friends Yeo Valley, or ‘Yeo Valley family farm’ as we must now call them. This story has always been true, but as recently as October 2010 I commented on the previous new design, heading into major brand/high impact/low emotion territory just as everyone else started bearing their authentic souls. Resistance was clearly futile, so…

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Ceci n’est pas une bouteille

Danish orange Juice carton packaging with a juice bottle printed on it

Whilst the packaging material of choice for naturally produced, ‘authentic’ juices is clearly glass, here’s an artful example of getting many of the benefits of a heavy, expensive, charmingly old-fashioned bottle without having to actually use one! I have no idea if Danish juice brand Rynkeby uses or has ever used such a bottle, but…

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This is not a bottle either

So here’s a story of the mystical island of Jura, land of ancient Celtic myths and some typically rugged Scottish scenery. With names like Superstition and Elixir, iconic symbols like the Triskele and, er, others, we are invited to sense the magic of the place and by extension the whiskies. Completing the picture, assorted island scenery…

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Any colour you like, as long as it’s brown

Brown paper bags for Brander1 coffee packages

Brander (it means roaster) manages to differentiate both coffee type/origin and which machine to make it in, using one colour. Well, shades of one colour, but it’s still quite a feat. The brown bag conjures up the metaphor of a small ‘branderij’, circa 1898, making colourful shiny coffee packs look a bit fake. Takeout: The ‘direct…

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Roughly the same volume

Olive Oil bottles in a Dutch supermarket

These olive oils scream authenticity with convincingly handwritten labels and no discernible logo, just the name of the importer in very small type. Different fill levels and varying degrees of cloudiness take the stakes even higher, but simple cork stoppers with zero tamper evidence are possibly a step too far. Then again these guys are…

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Different kinds of sizzle

To paraphrase an old adage the job of marketing is to ‘sell the sizzle, not the sausage’. If your particular sizzle is authenticity, then take your pick from these 3 ways of selling it: Appetising food from a real chef (or are they just made under licence?); romantic farming couple with unfeasibly trendy wellies but…

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New! No, Old!

Several transparent bottles from Palmolive on shelf in a supermarket

The new transparent bottle from Palmolive is a lovely piece of packaging; it feels good in the hand, has excellent size impression, and was clearly designed to capture the power of the drop as a metaphor for a pure essence. At a deeper level it subliminally brings out the two oils that make up the…

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