Thursday, 19 February 2009

Comfort Brands

Asda has reported a wave of nostalgia shopping. Sales of classic food brands such as Fray Bentos pies and Bird's custard powder are soaring as customers "shopped like their parents".

This is great news. One thing that breaks my heart is the loss of some of the most iconic and beautiful packaging over the years. A trip to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Notting Hill generally just goes to prove that packaging tended to be a lot nicer. Some of the brands that have been sidelined over the years have managed to keep their rather idiosyncratic packaging - like Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup and Atora. Maybe now their time has come. Their deeply nostalgic outfits and their reassuring contents, delivering in the case of the trinity above the perfect dessert of treacle suet pudding and custard, are perfectly matched to the mood of austerity, make do & mend and home-bound cocooning. 

Other packaging that needs to stay as it is come-what-may include: Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Biscuit, Potter's Catarrh Pastilles, Fillipo Berrio Olive Oil and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce. There's a delightful set of drawings of packaging here to mull over. Meanwhile Bird's could do with a bit of retro-designing...