How Snact Went Compostable
By: Bill McCool
Snact isn’t just in the business of crafting tasty treats from bananas that would otherwise go to waste, they’re also on a mission to eliminate packaging waste.
We spoke with Snact cofounder Ilana Taub about creating compostable packaging and working with a creative agency to bring their startup’s brand identity to life.
Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.
Ilana Taub: After a few attempts at getting our brand identity and messaging right, and not being successful at it, we came to B&B studio, who walked us through each step of the design process. Unlike some brand development where you’d be starting from scratch, we already had a strong idea what Snact was about and what it stands for – we just weren’t sure how to bring it to life. We began by downloading the two years’ worth of thinking we’d done on the Snact brand and its voice, and B&B were able to distill that into a coherent creative strategy that set the tone for the brand visually and verbally.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Snact's packaging and how did you accomplish it?
Ilana Taub: We went to B&B with one main objective: make our packaging shout about our mission, and bring clarity to our brand messaging around being food waste fighting activists. In the past, we’d found it tricky to balance the two core tenets of our brand: that our snacks are delicious, and that we’re fighting food waste. We want customers to buy our product for the taste, but our mission is what makes us different – so which do you shout about first?
B&B challenged themselves to make food waste both fascinating and appetising, and set about this in a number of ways. First, they created a rip in our logo to make sense of our name SNACT, and break our packs into two parts – a delicious side, and a protest side. Then they emphasised the protest aspect with playful slogans that reference the snacks themselves like “Viva La Raspberry Revolution” or “Bananarchy in the UK”. Overall, they were able to visualise our attitude and personality, bringing to life our internal company motto of “give a shit and get shit done”. The result is a distinct and powerful brand identity that balances taste and mission, beautifully summing up our mission of #deliciousprotest.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
Ilana Taub: From our perspective, letting go of what we had thought of for the brand, and trusting B&B entirely with it. We knew we were in the best hands possible, but when you’ve been brewing something in your head for over two years – it’s not always easy to let go.
For B&B, I guess the challenge was getting inside in our heads and bringing the inside out. They were less concerned with how the category and competitors behave, and more concerned with what was right for us, both as people and as a brand.
What was it like partnering with Tipa? Were there any challenges working with compostable packaging?
Ilana Taub:Plenty! Working with Tipa has been a gamechanger for our brand. Before we launched our first snacks at the end of 2015, we spent quite a bit of time looking for sustainable alternatives. We didn’t find anything that met all the requirements we needed in terms of food safety, shelf-life and printability. So we decided to launch with a traditional plastic film but knowing that we’d keep looking for an alternative and switch as soon as possible. We came across Tipa in a matter of months and in September 2016, we switched over. As it’s a completely new material, the first of its kind in the UK, and the first time this was applied to a consumer product, there have been teething issues with the printing and with our co-packers. It was quite a big risk to take for a small start-up like ours. Even today, it’s still a bit trickier than traditional film – if something goes wrong, you can’t just switch suppliers over night as there aren’t many compostable films available. Still, we think these are all risks and challenges worth taking to lead the way in reducing our excess plastic consumption.
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?
Ilana Taub: We love all of it: The rip, the big bold fruits and colours, the protest slogans. It’s hard to choose. If I had to pick one, it would have to be the slogans – they’re creative, witty and fun. And there are so many to choose from! Mangoes on a mission, power to the pulp, make bars not wars… And there will be more as we develop new products.
Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.
Ilana Taub: I guess this is obvious to anyone who has ever tried bringing a product to market: It will take so much longer than you think, and things you thought couldn’t possibly go wrong will – just stay calm and carry on, the end is worth it (probably).
Have you tried using the wrapper in your own composting bin yet?
Ilana Taub: We certainly have! It’s in there decomposing as we write this, and will soon come out as fertiliser at the other end!
While Snact is located in the UK, you can still purchase their banana bar sand fruit jerky from them directly or via Amazon. Now, excuse us while we sit in front of our composting bin and watch our Snact wrapper turn into fertilizer.
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.