How do you revolutionize the perception of a historic brand while staying true to its identity? We tell you about the evolution of Bahlsen, the famous pastry brand whose generational change and packaging design have gone hand in hand.

A generational change occurs at the top of Bahlsen, and packaging design is being revamped to hit new sales targets. Bahlsen worked on rebranding the brand by drawing inspiration from the art world while staying true to the tradition represented by the color blue.

Bahlsen’s package relooking

The cookie image stands out in the center of the package, sealed by Tet, the founder’s chosen logo reminiscent of the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of eternity. The rebranding coincides with a changing guard that sees Verena Bahlsen take the reins of the company, flanked by new CEO Phil Rumbol, the first not to be a member of the family.

(Images by Auge Design).

Generational change and packaging design for Bahlsen
Generational change and packaging design for Bahlsen

Bahlsen modernizes. The cookie manufacturer has drastically changed the packaging design of its leading brand. The company is also planning a restructuring of its product portfolio. Some previous items will disappear in favor of gluten-free and vegan cookie variants.

Verena Bahlsen, shareholder, and Phil Rumbol, head of the company, are spearheading the revolution. Under their leadership, the company is decisively changing the visual appearance of its core brand: “We are deliberately breaking the rules of packaging design,” Rumbol says in an interview with LZ. On cookie packages, the product moves to center stage; The Bahlsen name, on the other hand, is in the background.

Detail on the ennoblements and packaging elements
Detail on the ennoblements and packaging elements

“We are turning our cookies into icons,” says Rumbol. The company aims to broaden its target group: the new design is expected to appeal to younger people, Rumbol says. It also intends to attract consumers “willing to pay corresponding prices for high-quality products.” According to the CEO, the future of packaging design also bears “his signature,” along with that of the Italian agency Auge. Rumbol is also planning an advertising campaign for the fall that will stand out “for its decidedly easy look.”

The changes in strategy

But the changes at Bahlsen go beyond packaging. “Our change in strategy is not just about design,” says Rumbol. It is also about “the way we behave as a company.” For example, Bahlsen’s mission is to “offer more products for special nutritional needs.” According to Rumbol, the company will have “a wider selection of gluten-free and vegan products” in the future. So far, virtually only the company’s butter cookie is available in a gluten-free variant. To balance, Bahlsen will “remove existing products from the range.” Rumbol leaves open the question of which products this will be. Also, the Briton does not specify a timetable for changes to the portfolio.

Countertop display with tuck-end boxes
Countertop display with tuck-end boxes

Rumbol also announces that the cookie company is stepping up its sustainability efforts. “We are no longer just setting financial goals,” the CEO promises. The company also wants to “have a positive impact on society.” “Big brands often do not represent the values of young people,” says Rumbol. “Big does not necessarily mean better.” Bahlsen wants to “radiate humanity,” conveying “that Bahlsen is a family business.” In international comparison, however, the manufacturer is limited in size. “We should therefore be able to behave like a relatively small company.”

Hence, bold design, new market niches, sustainability, and agility-this is the recipe for staying on top of the wave.

Conclusions on generational change and packaging design

In short: Do you need to reflect new hallmarks of your brand in packaging? Looking for an immediate and versatile packaging design tool and quality printing? Start with our creative interface, change the connotations of your packaging, and put us to the test on print, even for large print runs.