The traditional Makhana upgrades with new flavors and branding

Flavors and packaging target active health and nature demographic

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Woke makhana’s range is packaged in aesthetically pleasing PET jars with label drawings portraying people enjoying some of their favorite pastimes in the lap of nature – a man hiking through the forest, a man cycling in mountainous terrain, a couple enjoying an outdoor picnic, people embracing the crackling warmth of a bonfire, and a man playing guitar in autumn. Photo Desertkart

Comprehensive social media marketing, general awareness campaigns, and the recent geographical indication (GI) tag have, bit by bit, transformed the humble and traditional makhana into a force to be reckoned with. Targeting the active and health-conscious ‘woke’ demographic, roasted makhanas now come as a welcome relief from a slew of unhealthy snacking alternatives. 

And consumers have embraced them with open arms. The last decade has seen extensively packaged makhana brands hitting the local and international store shelves. Blending the traditional makhana with both Indian flavors and more exotic toppings such as peri-peri and wasabi is the culinary wisdom most makhana makers swear by. 

Flavored and unflavored makhana brands are conventionally positioned in the health food snack category owing to their myriad merits. Makhana packaging often presents its USPs to ensure instant product recall by shoppers. We take a look at some of the strong visual narratives and award-winning packaging design for makhanas doing the rounds of modern retail format stores as this product moves up the value chain.

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Mr Makhana beautifully fuses dietary purpose with indulgent pleasure. Photo PSA

Introduced in 2015, Mr Makhana beautifully fuses dietary purpose with indulgent pleasure. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, with port proximity, is aimed at bringing down export costs. The Mr Makhana packs stand out for their unconventional doodle design which relates the story of its farm to fork transition. Available in both pillow packs and composite jars, the brand enjoys a large slice of India’s makhana pie, with monthly revenues exceeding Rs 50 lakh.

The Nutty Fox makhana range has an instantly uplifting packaging design with vivid hues in the background set off by sharp images of flavoring ingredients placed next to roasted makhana pops. Targeted at ‘smart snackers,’ Nutty Fox makhana packs are priced at Rs 160 for an 80-gram pack.

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The Healthy Treat brand from Jaipur-based Shakambari Food Products supplies a makhana line conveniently packaged in 490 gram PET jars priced at Rs 360.

The Healthy Treat brand from Jaipur-based Shakambari Food Products supplies a makhana line conveniently packaged in 490 gram PET jars priced at Rs 360. With three delectable flavors – pudina, Himalayan salt, and black pepper, and peri-peri, the Healthy Treat makhana jars have a solid-hued label accompanied by strategically placed cutouts of ingredient illustrations to allow buyers a sneak peek of the goodness within.

Woke makhana’s range is packaged in aesthetically pleasing PET jars with label drawings portraying people enjoying some of their favorite pastimes in the lap of nature – a man hiking through the forest, a man cycling in mountainous terrain, a couple enjoying an outdoor picnic, people embracing the crackling warmth of a bonfire, and a man playing guitar in autumn.

The Green Snack Co markets its ghee roasted makhana line in 65 gram and 120-gram metal cans complete with bright illustrations of the fluffy snacks within. Its makhanas come in three scrumptious flavors – pudina, salt and pepper, and jaggery.

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Prakrishi Organics’ prize-winning makhana packaging. Photo Prakrishi Organics

Prakrishi Organics’ makhana collection retailed in Swiss Pack zip-lock packaging relates the story of a kingdom of wealth, where the humble makhana is now the ruler of the kingdom. Makhana-colored pictures offset by a monochrome backdrop acts as a powerful differentiator in the Indian snacks segment. The strong visual narrative vies for customer attention, while the imagery hits the consumer core with the depiction of India-centric customs, beliefs, and habits. This splendid packaging design by Vishal Vora secured an award in the packaging design category at the A’design Award 2020 – 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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– Naresh Khanna

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