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Healthy eating cues abound on new CVS brand packaging

CVS’ new Gold Emblem Abound brand uses packaging graphics that call out health benefits and focus on ingredients and taste to make it easier for consumers to eat healthy.

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CVS/pharmacy has a long history of developing private-label brands that offer consumers alternatives to national brands, fill a gap in existing product offerings, or meet evolving consumer needs and wants through innovative products. The retail pharmacy chain currently produces 12 distinct store brands that address areas including home care, with its Total Home line; cosmetics, with Makeup Academy; home office and school supplies, under the Caliber brand; and pet care, with Pet Central, to name a few.

In June 2014, the company launched a new line, Gold Emblem Abound, as a sub-brand of its existing Gold Emblem line of food and beverage items. The new brand builds on the Gold Emblem reputation of taste, quality, and convenience, but focuses on healthy alternatives.

“Our research showed that a healthy diet means something different for each person,” says George Coleman, Vice President of Merchandising, Store Brands and Quality Assurance for CVS/pharmacy. “Under Gold Emblem Abound, we developed an assortment of delicious snacks that offer a range of nutritional benefits that allow customers to choose the snacks that best suit their individual needs.”

As it has with all of its store brands, Coleman says CVS/pharmacy took great care with the design of the packaging for the Gold Emblem Abound line to make it easily recognizable on-shelf and establish consumers’ trust in the products.

“Our goals in designing packaging for each individual line or product may vary, but with all, we keep in mind that we want the products to stand out and immediately capture the attention of our shoppers while underscoring the quality and innovation of the products themselves,” says Coleman. “We hold ourselves to high standards, and wherever possible, we incorporate innovations right into the product packaging.”

A path to better health
A tagline of sorts for CVS, “helping people on their path to better health” reflects the company’s broader mission. Gold Emblem Abound comprises 40 products developed to provide consumers with healthy alternatives that are also affordable—up to 20% to 40% less than national brands, in some cases. Says Coleman, “The new Gold Emblem Abound line makes choosing nourishing and wholesome snacks simple, tasty, and affordable.”

Products include snack bars, trail mixes, dried fruit, popcorn, rice chips, and nuts. Each selection is free of artificial flavors and preservatives and contains no trans fats. Additionally, the line includes products that are gluten free certified, sodium free, and cholesterol free as well as those that are good sources of protein, fiber, omega-3s, probiotic cultures, and potassium. Ingredients include super foods like chia seeds, baobab, blueberries, and pomegranates.

Given the range of product types, packaging formats vary as well. They include cartons, flow-wrapped packs, pouches, canisters, and plastic jars. Several considerations guided the selection of packaging formats, relates Coleman: “Taste is important, so we ensured that the packaging was able to keep product fresh. We also focused on packaging functionality that was easy to use, portable, or resealable, making it easy for the customer to use or share or save for later.”

Clear communication
Design of the package graphics was done by the CVS in-house creative team, which was responsible for development of the brand name, art direction, and the design look and feel. According to Coleman, the guiding principle of the design—influencing the typography, photography, and graphic identity—was the “better-for-you” concept. “We wanted Gold Emblem Abound to communicate to our customer that healthier snacks are not about depriving you of enjoyment,” he says. “Rather, we really wanted to highlight that Gold Emblem Abound products are a delicious, better-for-you alternative in the store.”

Following in the footsteps of the Gold Emblem design, Abound makes taste the central focus, but with a twist that helps communicate the approachability and vitality of the brand. Front and center on each pack is ingredient photography, with pictures of the food taken against a bright, apple-green background and resting on burlap fabric. As Coleman relates, CVS avoided the “cut-and-paste” method of showing the food—“food that looks fake on a package does not look tasty,” he says.

One consumer insight uncovered by CVS that influenced the package design was that consumers appreciate packaging that allows them to quickly and easily identify the nutrition claims or health benefits of the item—whether it be heart-healthy, a great source of protein, or gluten free. In response, Gold Emblem Abound clearly identifies product benefits on the front of the packaging, with copy circled in yellow. In addition, relevant nutrition claims are showcased in bold lettering.

A final consideration for the package design was ensuring that it would stand out on-shelf against competitive products. The solution was to create brand blocking with a strong, disruptive background color—apple green. “When you walk in our stores, you can see the bright green shelf block from many feet away,” Coleman says.

Healthy options welcomed
Since Gold Emblem Abound was rolled out to CVS/pharmacy’s 7,600 stores, consumers have expressed great enthusiasm for both the product and the packaging. Says Coleman, “Our customers are thrilled to have healthier options conveniently located at CVS/pharmacy and have consistently commented not just on the taste and our careful focus on ingredients, but also on the packaging, noting the bright colors, clear communication of nutrition claims, and overall look, which they say is very attractive and even surprising to find in their neighborhood drugstore.”

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