Some Food for Thought: the Power of Packaging for “this bar saves lives.”


Walking through the grocery store, its natural to go through the motions of finding the items on the grocery list and paying little attention to packaging design. Nutrition labels might get a more thorough reading, but the element looked at in the initial one-second glance also has great control over purchase choices. In that one-second, consumers look at packaging design and quickly make a decision about their interest in the product. Packaging design continues to be an important area of graphic design and just like posters and logos, it also has the potential to help social justice causes.

The company “this bar saves lives.” has unleashed this potential by creating food with outstanding packaging design to enable their ‘one to one’ strategy of helping children dying from malnutrition. According to the “this bar saves lives.” website, malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children every year, equaling one children every 12 seconds. These horrible circumstances however, do not need to remain as fate and can be prevented by providing life giving treatment to these children.

“this bar saves lives.” sells delicious snack bars so that for every bar purchased, one life-saving packet of food is given to an at risk child. The packets, called Plumpy’Nut, contain “nutrient-rich paste made from peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils, and a mixture of vitamins and minerals.” With a sweet taste that children like as well as ease of transportation and storage, with a two-year shelf-life, Plumpy’Nut has succeeded in leading a revolution of change in saving children’s’ lives.


In order for Plumpy’Nut to become accessible to as many people as possible though, the company needs to get the attention of consumers in the US who will buy their “this bar saves lives” product. The website for this product does not list any physical stores where this product can be purchased, causing me to believe that it sells solely through its website. With online sales, the tangible feel of the product no longer contributes to an initial purchase and so the product appearance has the responsibility of inspiring sales. Placing the name “this bar saves lives.” in bold letters succeeds in drawing attention towards the product.

An article called, 5 Tips for Designing Effective Labels, written by the staff at HOW magazine, details specific tips on what makes a packaging label effective. The product “this bar saves lives.” follows the writers’ suggestions for using color, texture and type appropriately as well as creating a memorable and distinctive label. The article states that a designer should “ensure that the typeface… chose[n] for the most important information on the package can be read from a distance.” The snack bar product succeeds in this area as it has chosen an easy to read, san-serif typeface for the product name as described earlier. But the company also lets that title stand out by limiting the amount of information and decreasing other font sizes on the front of the packaging, only including the flavor and net weight information.

HOW magazine also shares that “your design will have more impact if it’s clean, eye-catching and unusual.” “this bar saves lives.” achieves this goal through its use of a different pattern on each flavor of the snack bars. The global look of the patterns gives a sense of a unified brand and the different patterns across flavors makes each bar seem even more unique, encouraging purchases of all flavors. Also, the organization’s website has a fun feature (shown below) that allows a user to hover their cursor over one of the bars to reveal a larger sample of that flavor’s pattern design, appearing behind the product. Details like this differentiate this product from the large number of other snack bar options available.

pattern screenshot

Surrounded by elements of graphic design in daily life, it can be easy to overlook the influence of design in packaging. Design for packaging however, carries a great ability to further social causes by influencing consumer purchase decisions. “this bar saves lives.” has made their mission clear through their packaging, and the design has already aided in providing essential nutrients to those most in need.

Learn more about “this bar saves lives.” through:










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