Food of the future. Packly interviews Small Giants, a Packly customer who creates packaging for insect flour.

Insect flour is among the new alternatives to cereal flour we normally use for our recipes. This innovative food is attracting the attention of experts in the food sector, so much so that it is defined as the food of the not-so-distant future. Produced from crickets (the green light for the marketing of cricket powder was provided for by the EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2023/5 of 3 January 2023), fly larvae, and worms, insect meal is rich in proteins, fats, and essential minerals. It is a sustainable food source and a solution to the growing global food demand. Packly interviewed Francesco Majno from Small Giants, a company among the first to develop and understand the opportunities to use alternative foods. Small Giants is among Packly’s satisfied customers for creating insect flour packaging.

Hi Francesco, tell us about the Small Giants project: what is it, and how was it born?

The Small Giants project was born a few years ago, and, like any project, it was just a thought, an idea in the beginning. At the same time, news, analyses, and studies about the potential of edible insects began to circulate. For example, FAO published research according to which insects are excellent natural sources of high-quality protein with low environmental impact. We set ourselves the goal to make this type of “alternative” diet appreciated in the West, which in other countries, such as the East, is considered normal: almost 2 billion people eat insects daily.

Packaging for insect flour
Packaging for insect flour

The name “Little Giants” is a metaphor that refers to the small size of insects that can do great things, like flour, correct?

You’re right. We intend to communicate the idea that insects, small by nature, actually have enormous nutritional potential. Crickets contain 80% protein, which is huge! Small Giants wants to convey this. We want cricket flour to become an increasingly integrated food in the diet. We have created crackers and rusks with it, which we consume daily on average.

Is your flour aimed at an elite audience, or is it suitable for everyone?

The product is universal. Protein flours are very different from what is usual and affordable for all. Small Giants products are allies and not substitutes for our daily foods. They enrich the diet, as indeed, every food must do. Just think of the everyday use of side dishes such as salad. You may think they’re elitist, but they’re more down-to-earth than you would assume.

Small Giants: packaging set
Small Giants: packaging set

Based on your sales performance, how are consumers responding?

Consumers are responding well. We have noticed how a male audience is more inclined to purchase our products, even if, lately, there’s more balance between the buyer genders.

Are there nations more inclined to buy insect meals than others?

As with any sector, some respond more openly and curiously, while others are more attached to the traditional product. I can proudly say that Italy is undoubtedly among the most genuine and adventurous countries.

Small Giants tuck end box
Small Giants tuck end box

Do you think the “big food brands” will ever consider adopting the use of insect meal for the dough of their products?

Accepting the challenge today is very risky. First, our protein flours make them more sectoral and not within reach of any product. But I do not exclude the possibility that it can happen, as there is pasta with legume flour or “limited edition” pasta.

Let’s talk about Small Giants’ collaboration with Packly. First: how did you choose Packly for your packaging for insect flour?

I don’t remember the exact moment because I’ve been a Packly customer for years. Even the Small Giants project had yet to come to life when I started using the platform. I can tell you that your service is exceptional from all points of view: it is reliable and allows a lot of creativity and flexibility. It meets all needs, and since we did so many tests before finding the proper packaging, the prototyping phase was of fundamental importance to us. There is complete management of the product, clear and impeccable!

Rollover hinged lid box with various packaging formats
Rollover hinged lid box with various packaging formats

The product you market is decidedly particular, which intrigues on the one hand and frightens on the other. Should the packaging for insect flour divert attention from the product or enhance its particularity?

The packaging of the products is very colorful and pleasant to look at, and the graphic designs communicate wittiness at first visual impact. We emphasize this by marking the particularity of the product, which is the distinctive element. This focus starts with visual communication, which does not happen with a realistic image of the insect, which would make many roll their eyes. Still, through well-made drawings and figures, which intrigue and bring customers closer. We try to normalize the use and consumption of this product. The figure in the center is a stylized Buffalo Worm, our trademark at the core. We were inspired by the illustrations of the Brazilian artist Fernando Molina for the pose you see, obviously adapting the image to our needs.

Considering this, was it challenging to find the right compromise between packaging for insect flour and the product?

Since it is not easy to communicate this type of product, it took a long process to understand how to find the right compromise. We did many tests and prototypes to position the product through typography, graphics, and the box. Our team has worked hard to achieve the right balance that you see now in the products, and a special mention goes to both Leonardo Di Giuseppe and Francesca Gargioni, who designed our Gift Box.

Speaking of the Gift Box, what packaging projects have you created on Packly?

We have designed displays and cases for the Crispy Bakes and the Gift Box, as well as new formats covering the launch of new products.

Conclusions on packaging for insect flour

Are you looking for an all-in-one platform that helps you create your packaging step by step? With Packly, you will find professionalism and creativity on a single interface.