Aussie brand Little Bellies was awarded Gold at the recent DBA Design Effectiveness Awards in the UK, off the back of the May 2022 launch of its new Pre-Schooler Portions range.
The brand received the award for the successful transformation of its baby and toddler snack food brand in 2018. It says that redesigning the packaging has set in motion its sustainability journey, which “remains a work in progress” and confirms that all of its soft plastic is now approved by REDcycle, and "has the potential to divert 22 tonnes of soft plastic waste from landfill".
London-based B&B studio undertook the entire rebrand, with the scope of work including brand positioning, brand architecture, creative strategy, visual identity, packaging design, messaging and communications, brand world and digital look and feel.
Since the rebrand in September 2018, Little Bellies has gone from strength to strength, increasing value sales by 262 per cent over the three years, exceeding ambitious growth targets by 162 per cent and increasing market share by 169 per cent, while sustaining a premium price positioning.
In this time, the brand has "simultaneously transformed consumer, retailer and supplier relationships", empowering expansion into New Zealand and the US, making the brand "a true Australian success story" after its humble beginnings in 2011.
Decision to rebrand
With listings in both Coles and Woolworths, Little Bellies had created the baby snacking segment. But eight years after its launch, competitors were entering the space, and it became aware of the limitations of its branding. According to the company, the existing product-led and generic designs lacked a strong brand presence, and while functional health claims were featured, it was aware that there was no unique or compelling brand message to make sense of the facts or connect with consumers. The brand’s founder believed in Little Bellies’ ability to create better-for-you products across the baby food spectrum, beyond snacking and beyond Australia, but realised the current brand was limiting his ambitions, so the decision was taken to rebrand.
B&B studio undertook a strategic review of the category, consumer, competitor, and cultural context to define a whole new positioning for the brand around the theme of ‘Do What’s Natural’. The work also included a new brand architecture, built around the ages and stages of the weaning journey to provide continuity and reassurance for parents.
The design reflects the child’s journey from baby to toddler to kid through a monster character who grows up across the stages. This "unique, engaging, and memorable character" means that “a recognisable design look and feel” can be used across ranges while “appealing equally” to mothers of newborns (Baby Bellies) and to brand-aware kids who are 7 or 8 years old (Mighty Bellies).
B&B says the use of the on-pack monster illustration makes sense of the Bellies brand name by “positioning the logo on his stomach, while fresh product imagery and textured typography reinforce the natural feel”.
Messaging is key in this category, says B&B, and the new design features an own-able Little Bellies Pledge on every pack that confirms the brand’s nutritional credentials. The Do What’s Natural story is told across every communication, from pack to PR to social, ensuring parents understand the values at the heart of the brand.
Little Bellies founder Clive Sher is thrilled with the recognition, which demonstrates that the brand has succeeded against demanding criteria to prove that its design and visual identity has been a key driver of their business success.
Hinting towards continued growth, he said, "My brother and I had grand ambitions when we started Little Bellies in 2011, yet we're still absolutely humbled every day by the brand's success and this recognition at the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards. This Award recognises the efforts of our fantastic extended team over recent years, but even more excitingly proves we are on track, and affirms our plans for continued expansion," said Sher.
"Little Bellies has never been one to shy away from pursuing growth and NPD where we feel it's in the best interest of Aussie parents and kids. This challenger mindset will see us continue to expand across new and exciting categories in the years to come, as well as cement our position as the country's leading baby and toddler brand."
Little Bellies won in excellent company, with silver and bronze awarded to the likes of Sainsbury's, Mars, McCains and Bayer Healthcare, with fellow Australian brand Billson's Cordials taking out one of the three golds.
A significant impact of the rebrand has been the change in relationship between the brand and its retailers. Prior to the redesign, Little Bellies was categorised as a ‘Bronze’ brand by Woolworths on its supplier scorecard, but has since advanced to ‘Platinum’ – the highest rating available.
Little Bellies is now ranged in every Woolworths and Coles store nationwide, with almost all SKUs listed in each location.