When Roma Foods decided it was time to create an Aussie-made gluten-free pasta brand, it turned to Melbourne-based design studio Disegno for the brand and pack design, with flexible packaging printed by RollsPack.
Roma Foods is perhaps best known for its brands Orgran and Buontempo, and has been pioneering healthier, alternative grain foods since 1984 when the Buontempo family acquired the Melbourne business, which first started producing pasta in the 1950s. But while the business has grown and now exports to over 50 countries worldwide, creating future growth required some new thinking.
Orgran and Buontempo might have pioneered gluten-free brands, but its consumers were largely allergy needs or specific health-based and used to buying in the health food aisle or specialty stores. To grow beyond, Roma Foods needed to be able to access the growing numbers of consumers whose needs are much different – a positive lifestyle choice centred around enjoyment and vitality.
Sam Schachna, Roma Foods CEO, says, “Consumer demand for gluten-free products now stretches well beyond the health food aisle. To deliver on our mission of 'Creating Great Food for Healthier Living' and meet growing demand, we've embarked on a strategy of creating new brands that speak specifically to these consumers' needs and appeal to their lifestyle.”
“There has never been a better time for local Australian manufacturers to create their own brands and challenge the mainstream,” says Aaron Turner, head of strategy at Disegno, the agency which created the Pasta Roma brand and designed the packaging.
For Roma Foods, that time is now. As Australia's largest gluten free and allergen free manufacturer they are well placed to capitalise on this opportunity.
“When it came to brand design, we had to flip conventional thinking on its head. Rather than delivering the functional benefit of gluten free, we needed to express the emotional benefit. The lifestyle, the way you feel after eating it. It needs to take you to a place in your heart and your mind,” Turner says.
He goes on to explain that the name Pasta Roma is linked to the company's heritage and name, Roma Foods. It is also a tribute to the traditional bronze extrusion process used to make the product as well as cueing Roman lifestyle.
“The vibrant orange colour is a distinctive colour in the category amongst blue and red, providing great stand-out on shelf and vibrancy, while quirky Italian-inspired lifestyle imagery expresses lifestyle and provides Italian authenticity cues,” Turner says, noting that the orange also cues the positive energy of the brand.
“Authenticity is at the heart of success. In the mid-late 2000s there was a surge in local challenger brands like Carman's and five:am. Today, multinationals are launching their own phantom, challenger brands and it can be difficult to tell the difference. Bravely being different and telling your story with authenticity is key to breaking through the clutter,” says Turner.
Commenting on the brand’s shelf presence, Turner says, “The dominant orange colour provides brand blocking while accent colours of yellow, blue, red, purple and green are used to colour code each of the five variants making it easier to navigate and find your favourite pasta.”
Quirky Italian-inspired lifestyle imagery on pack “expresses the freedom, fun and enjoyment of and lifestyle while providing Italian authenticity cues”, according to Turner. “Riding a scooter or bike, clicking your heels, releasing a balloon into the air or simply a pleasantly surprised expression, all aid in telling a deeper brand story on shelf, but also aid in navigation, especially for repeat purchase.”
The company behind the high quality print execution is Melbourne-based flexible packaging converter and printer RollsPack.
“A window at the base of the pack enables the shopper to not just see the shape of the pasta, but also the quality,” Turner explains. “A secondary window positioned between the logo and gluten free/variant descriptor is slightly more opaque, enabling more product to be seen, making the pack feel lighter and fresher and also containing the descriptor 'Perfect Taste & Texture', providing reassurance about the major barriers to trial of gluten-free pastas.”
Pasta Roma products a made in small batches using Australian rice, sun-ripened corn and generations of Italian pasta making know-how, with a traditional bronze-die extrusion making every bite “bellissimo, the company says.
Matt O'Brien, head of sales at Roma Foods, says, “In mature categories such as pasta, which remain largely flat, the better for you sub-category is what's driving overall category growth. Consumers are more health conscious than ever before, and retailers like Woolworths are seeing this as a significant opportunity. As a local manufacturer, we're perfectly positioned to deliver a consistently high-quality product at an affordable price to meet this growing demand.”
Pasta Roma's 350g range of Rigatoni, Spirals, Penne and Macaroni will be available in the mainstream aisle of Woolworths nationally from February 2023, in addition to selected independent supermarkets.