Ricardo gets its prepped meals to pop on shelf

As part of a bigger back-to-school push, the culinary brand creates a visual platform that works across categories.

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As the kids head back to school this week, Ricardo is rolling out a brand new look in Quebec IGA stores.

Last winter, Quebec-based culinary brand Ricardo approached design and packaging agency Pigeon to make its soups, pre-prepared entrees and frozen meals stand out from the crowd and better reflect its brand personality.

Mireille Arteau, VP of operations at Ricardo Media, tells strategy the new food products’ brand look will be part of its back-to-school campaign, which it is also amplifying with an article on the Ricardo website, as well as through its dedicated newsletter and posts on social media.

She says says that the move was to reflect Ricardo’s “heartfelt focus on family,” and the brand’s values of inspiring, educating and bringing people together through authentic food.

Despite Ricardo’s refined look at shelf compared to the competition, Pigeon’s design analysis revealed its packaging simply didn’t stand out enough in many of the categories, like steaks and chicken breasts, where other brands where also going for a higher-end feel.

Therefore, a redesign was launched to make the Ricardo prepared foods range – the first line of which was launched in fall 2019 – easier to find on both grocery and refrigerator shelves.

“One of the key the objectives of the redesign was to create a coherent platform from one category to the next, to better create interest and desire, as well as generate attention and give people a taste for Ricardo products,” according to Stéphane Crevier, VP brand strategy, Pigeon.

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To get Canadians to trial Ricardo products and add them to grocery lists, Pigeon created appetizing imagery inspired by their dishes, and deployed a lively palette of corn yellow, leek green and cranberry red colours (see, above) to “ignite taste, while increasing visibility and contrast in all categories the products can be found,” Crevier says.

In addition to boosting appetite appeal, the repackaging’s warmth and eye-attracting bright palette will add colour to grocery baskets, Crevier says. The Ricardo team also wanted to create a conversation, even in the grocery store, spurred by quotes appearing on the packaging such as “Feel like a Culinary Voyage.”

The packaging launch transition is taking place over the next few weeks in the IGA grocery chains across Quebec. The grocer bought a majority stake in Ricardo last month, including not just its line of grocery products, but also its eponymous French language magazine, TV shows, online, books, stores and restaurants.

Arteau says it and IGA share a common goal: to simplify people’s daily lives so they can focus on the joy of cooking and eating together. “The partnership will allow Ricardo to innovate, offering more inspiration, culinary solutions and new products that meet consumer needs,” Arteau says.