Metro picks an ‘irresistible’ kombucha look

A student design contest gave the grocery banner insights about a new product category and private label.


The first-place winning entry, from OCAD’s Josephine Vuong.

Metro has picked the student designs it found most “irresistible” after its inaugural design contest announced last fall, developed with Pigeon Brands. The challenge, open to students at Toronto’s OCAD University and Montreal’s Collège Salette, was to create a unique and distinctive design that’s in line with current branding for its Irresistibles private label kombucha drink. Criteria included market and consumer understanding, concept rational, design, creativity and overall student presentation. The judging panel included experts from Pigeon, Metro, the participating academic institutions and Christopher Durham, president, My Private Brand and co-founder of the Vertex Awards. The winning students have the opportunity to earn a paid internship at  Pigeon offices for two months.

Marie Horodecki-Aymes, Metro’s director, design and packaging private brands, tells strategy that it’s important for the retailer to see the creative vision of tomorrow’s designers.

“It’s also a great opportunity to have the vision of younger clients, [and] how they perceive private brands,” she adds.  Horodecki-Aymes has said that the millennial generation was raised with private brands, so they are an important part of the retailer’s Irresistibles strategy.

She says that Metro brands are always paying attention to consumer trends and finding ways to answer them and to make Irresistibles “approachable for all consumers, [and] kombucha was a great product to do the first design competition.”


Horodecki-Aymes says that kombucha is a new private label product for Metro, which is not on the shelves yet. While more and more people are drinking or know about it, it’s not quite mainstream yet. The objective of the competition, she says, was to make existing consumers want to try it through different and unique flavours, as well as demonstrate that the drink is not just a niche product, and that anyone can have pleasurable moment drinking kombucha.

Horodecki-Aymes says there are two ways to approach the kombucha product category to get noticed: a “Yogi well-being, minimalist” aesthetic that many leading brands do, or as a refreshing drink that can be appreciated for its taste and source of energy, to make it more mainstream and accessible to all consumers. “Kombucha can be a fun drink, and a more healthy choice than regular soft drinks that are often too sugary,” she says. “As it’s also a drink on the go, it’s important to have a beautiful and attractive design.”