Repackaged products sell the good ol' days

From cereal to soda, food marketers are reviving the past to stir shoppers' emotions.

By Kim Peterson Jun 20, 2011 1:14PM
In tough economic times, people want comfort. They long for the past, when life was happier. And they'll buy products that remind them of those days.

That's the hope of food companies, at least. Companies such as Pepsi (PEP) and General Mills (GIS) have jumped on the retro food bandwagon, dusting off old designs in an effort to take shoppers down memory lane.

Check out the following video for good examples of how everything old is new again on supermarket shelves. For some products, this trend is becoming a permanent look.

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Tide and Downy are back in bottle designs from the 1970s. Twinkie the Kid has returned. "Throwback" Pepsi cans sport a logo from the 1980s and are made with real sugar. Doritos has rolled out "taco flavor" chips.

"Packaging your product to bring you back in time is very much about bringing you peace of mind," one analyst, NPD Group's Marshal Cohen, told the "Today" show. They're designed to remind you of the first time you watched your mom do laundry with Tide, for example.

Companies have moved away from touting easy-pour spouts and better taste to using phrases that play on our emotions, The Wall Street Journal reports. They want to take advantage of our sunny impressions of the past.

The moves seem to be working. Pepsi saw more sales when it unveiled its throwback line with real sugar, the Journal reports. The cans were such a success that Pepsi made them permanent.

1Comment
Jul 17, 2011 2:12AM
avatar
I love your coverage of the retro packaging trend. I'm a collector of vintage food packaging, and all this retro stuff is a lot of fun.

One correction for your story. You mentioned that Twinkie The Kid is "back". Well he was used on Hostess Twinkies packaging from 1970-1987, took a break for 2 to 3 years and was "back" in 1990. He's been on the boxes ever since then. The retro Twinkies boxes this year brought back an older style of Twinkie The Kid, which was awesome to see. I've saved some boxes for my collection.

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