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Meridian Farm Market: Dynamic Branding And Cohesive Packaging Boost Beef Jerky Sales

For over thirty years, Meridian Farm Market has been a steady and well-trusted presence in the Fraser Valley. Originally founded as Meridian Meats & Seafood in 1989, the old fashioned-style market has since grown from butchery to artisan deli, in-house bakery, natural grocer, and seller of fresh and local produce. While maintaining its unique, country-style farm market setting, Meridian Farm Market has remained very much a family effort. Owned and operated by the Penner family since its inception, it has become well-known within the community for its quality meats and commitment to genuine, friendly service. Beginning with just one store in Port Coquitlam, Meridian Farm Market has since expanded to eight locations across the Lower Mainland.


 

For years, Meridian Farm Market has produced their own in-house, traditionally-flavoured beef jerky, which was then sold primarily through their own retail locations. While the products themselves were well-established and had cultivated a loyal following, they had historically been sold without much of a brand presence, under generic manufacturer packaging, and without much fanfare.

In truth, while the flavour of Meridian Farm Market’s jerky was winning over customers, their existing brand wasn’t doing them any favours – especially when it was lined up on the shelf next to the competition. Their presence in an already-crowded beef jerky market was further complicated by the emergence of new competitors in recent years. Suffice it to say, sales were being negatively impacted.

Meridian Meats Jerky Product

Intent on sharing their jerky with customers beyond their own stores, Meridian Farm Market needed to find a way to stand out on the shelves. They needed a strategic partner to help them establish a cohesive brand foundation which would allow them to build brand awareness and to add additional flavours to their existing product line.

Enter the Blue Meta team. After in-depth market research, we identified an entirely new target consumer and developed brand and promotional strategies which resulted in the creation of an entirely new brand entity and cohesive packaging design.

After meeting with CEO Josh Penner at Meridian Farm Market, Blue Meta developed brand and promotional strategies to set the direction of the growing brand with the primary objective of helping the product resonate with the end consumer.

Meridian Meats Jerky Product

Following a deep dive into the Canadian jerky market, we learned that much of the focus of competitors’ branding is significantly misplaced. While the emphasis in existing packaging has historically pointed solely towards male consumers – with packaging chalk-full of heavy reds, tough and gritty blacks, and masculine imagery – it was females that emerged as the primary purchasers of the product. And dominantly at that.

The biggest revelation? An entire audience of mothers purchasing beef jerky as snacks for their children was being ignored. In addition to learning the importance of female buyers, Blue Meta also identified an entirely new sub-market. This group consisted of health enthusiasts who purchased the product primarily for its high protein content. Overall, the male target consumer represented only a sliver of the total market.

With this key insight in mind, Blue Meta came up with a creative direction that would be visually attractive to both male and female buyers, without skewing too far in either direction. This meant creating easily identifiable packaging that maintained a rough edge…but not too rough so it would still resonate with the recently-identified primary female consumer.

After careful review of the existing brand, Blue Meta proposed that the jerky product move away from the traditional Meridian Farm Market logo. Instead, we recommended that they rebrand under a new label – Meridian Smokehouse. Such a shift maintained an association with the parent brand while also helping to position the product for a large scale, purely retail presence. After receiving an enthusiastic response from the client, we proceeded with these recommendations – elevating the brand with a look and feel that kept true to the Meridian story and to their roots as an old-fashioned butchery.

Meridian Meats Jerky Product

As a product of this new brand, Blue Meta’s creative team utilized a bold, eye-catching palette of vibrant colours – pinks, yellows, and oranges – which stands out among the imposing sea of reds and blacks typically present on the shelf. With a minimalist, modern contemporary approach, large typography assists in easy product identification and more relaxed messaging appeals more to a feminine audience.

The new design also saw the product window shift to the reverse side of the package, freeing up more room to communicate the product’s many benefits. One such benefit involved where the product was prepared. While most jerky sold domestically is actually American in origin, Meridian Smokehouse’s own product is prepared at home in Canada.  The team accentuated this key selling point – which had previously gone unmentioned – on their original packaging, helping to instill both pride and trust in the product.

We also ensured that we adhered to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulation standards – equalizing the sizing of English and French product copy – and took care to standardize a template which minimized the number of plates required during print production. This helped to maximize cost savings.

Following the successful launch of their three main flavours, Meridian Farm Market again turned to Blue Meta for packaging design support in the rollout of two new flavours: Meridian Smokehouse Hawaiian Teriyaki and Meridian Smokehouse Sweet Heat. They’re also looking towards expanding their line further into other flavours and jerky varieties.