I went shopping this morning, and I was looking at the candy wrappers and wondered, if I couldn’t read the descriptions and didn’t know what the different brands tasted like, which I would pick. None of them really look like food from the outside, but they still make you want to hold them. I got back, and started looking around my room for pretty labels.
They’re deceptive, they’re important, I’m sure there’s a lot of psychology involved in this sort of visual marketing, and I think it’s a really interesting art form. I bought the packet of Good&Plenty last week just because I thought it was pretty (I’d never tasted or even seen it before, and I don’t really intend to open it). And I think it’s interesting that the products here that I find the most attractively packaged – other than the Good&Plenty, which I think is just darling and old-fashioned and very Robert Indiana-esque – are asian in origin and, I’m sure, design: Pocky, puppodums, Turkish tea and the black rice noodles. I’ve often noticed the huge differences between modern English and American designs – greeting cards and wrapping papers are some of the most obvious ones – but hadn’t really thought about it much beyond that, and certainly hadn’t considered its impact in food marketing.
So: how much impact does a food’s wrapping have to do with how we enjoy it? Chocolate, though it is the most sacred, erotic and generally lovely foodstuff known to man, is not always a very beautiful food. I’d be more likely to reach for that lovely bright orange Trader Joe’s box than for a big brown block with little lumps of hazelnuts poking out of it. I think that beautiful labels allow us to view our food in a more romantic manner… if we are what we eat, why not eat something pretty?