Volume 1, Issue 2

Getting Started:

Packaging Design For Food Products

A Resource Guide

By Primal Communications Ltd.


You’ve been cooking, testing, tasting and perfecting your recipes, and now you are ready to take your food product(s) to market!

Designing food packaging requires special care and attention to give your product the best chance of success. There are a ton of details that go into designing successful food packaging so it is imperative that you choose a great printer and an experienced food packaging design studio or graphic designer. Concept development starts with sketches and drawings to rough out the box shape, where primary elements will be placed (product branding, photos, nutritional labeling, UPC, size, ingredients and preparation instructions all have their place on the package.

Before you approve the design and send the files to print, here are a few things to double check that will ensure you don’t make a costly mistake.

Food packaging and nutritional labeling

The CFIA – Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for safeguarding food through packaging and labeling laws. On their web site you can find the rules and regulations for all types of food products and important resources when entering into the food prep industry. Be sure to refer to their Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan which aims to strengthen Canada’s food safety system.Nutritional labeling is critical in the food packaging industry and goes hand in hand with the basic food packaging requirements in Canada. Have you ever wondered where the food labeling information comes from on the back of your packages? Have you ever wondered why they look as they do and what information is required?

Visit www.inspection.gc.ca

Nutritional Testing

Safety and testing of food products is critical from concept to retail shelf. Here are a couple companies that offer nutritional testing services.




Barcodes are very important part of your packaging design. Most barcodes need to appear on the ‘natural bottom’ of your package. This saves businesses thousands of hours every year with quicker check out times and less RSIs (Repetitive Stress injuries) that cost millions of dollars in lost work time. For more information check out www.gs1.ca.org


We recently were designing a smoked salmon gift box and when the translation came back we didn’t think it looked right. We saw that the translator changed the English word ‘Fine’ from Fine Smoked Salmon to another word. After a double check with Google Translate, fine translated to ‘amende’. A quick call to the translator cleared up why he changed the word. Amende in French means fine in English, but fine like a speeding ticket! Use a proper translation and refer to the CFIA site as there are specific language laws regarding packaging in Canada that need to be followed.

Food Photography

Aside from the essential technical and regulatory aspects of food packaging, there is nothing more important than good food photography in marketing your food products.From ad slicks to the packaging itself, if your food doesn’t look appetizing, your sales just won’t live up to their potential. Make sure you have a professional food photographer on speed dial!


Small Scale Food Processors Association

Food packaging is more than simply designing a great looking package. Visit www.ssfpa.net for a great resource for food manufacturers when you are getting started with more information on helping create a formal food safety plan for your business. Check out their recipe for success page for a great series of video tutorials.