Modern Table sets a refreshed packaging design

Packaging refresh for the protein-based pasta products eliminates the word ‘meals’ from the product and strengthens its ‘Our Story’ on the back panel.

There is a natural cycle to dining tables that results in changeovers to new tables as styles and tastes change and as families change in age, location and number.

That is also true of packaging for consumer packaged goods companies when they adjust the packaging design as the years go by, a timeframe that under certain circumstances may even be shortened to months. Such is the case with Modern Table, Walnut Creek, CA, that made a strategic change to the packaging’s design timed to an expansion of the product lineup in 2018. There is a new pasta shape—spirals—and two new mac & cheese flavors added to an established line of complete protein pastas and pastas with sauce.

“After the incredible response to our reformulated, complete protein pasta and new mac and cheese line introduced last year we wanted to offer our customers more tasty options in those categories,” says Jennifer Eiseman, senior brand manager. “As we continue to expand our product offering, we remain committed to providing healthy, convenient meal options for our customers and these three new items are no exception.”

Modern Table’s portfolio of products now number 15.

In conjunction with the product additions, the packaging’s design was updated. The brand dropped the word Meals from the name and the packaging, a key ingredient in a fresh round of changes a year after the company switched the primary packaging from plastic bags to paperboard packaging (see Pasta meals switch from bags to cartons, published April 2017).

Eiseman characterizes these new design modifications as a refresh rather than a redesign, she tells Packaging Digest.

“While a lot of the design elements of the packaging stayed the same, we simplified the front panel and changed the messaging to emphasize our key differentiator: complete protein pasta, made from three better-for-you ingredients including lentils, rice and peas,” Eiseman says.

While there were no structural or supplier changes this time, Modern Table updated the look to more prominently highlight the complete protein benefits. Packaging Digest learns more about the details and reasoning behind the refresh in this Q&A.

What prompted the refresh?

Eiseman: Our packaging refresh was prompted by consumer feedback from a survey. We wanted to understand if there was a more compelling way to communicate our plant-based protein benefit and what descriptors were most important to consumers. From the research we learned that “complete protein” was the most compelling pasta description to all the audience segments that we interviewed; we completed the thought by calling it “complete protein pasta” on our packaging.

Already we have received such positive feedback on the new packaging design, which we debuted at Natural Products Expo West March 8-11.

“Meals” has been dropped from the name: Are these products no longer considered only meals? What’s the thinking behind that?

Eiseman: We consider all three categories of our assortment: pasta, mac and cheese and pastas with veggies and sauce to be part of the platform of “complete protein pasta.”

The benefit of our complete protein pasta is that it is more filling than traditional pasta, and provides the 9 essential amino acids our bodies require without the addition of an animal protein. While this is enough to be considered a meal to some, we want our consumers to be able to be creative in the kitchen and use our pasta and pastas with sauce as the base for their next meal creation. The decision to drop “meals” from our logo allows consumers to have that latitude with our pasta and pastas with sauce and sets up a future to innovate beyond our current category.

Was there any notable change that may be less obvious?

Eiseman: Another notable change to our packaging is the update to Our Story on the back panel, which really explains our mission and belief in offering delicious AND nutritious plant-based complete protein pasta, as well as the benefits associated with our pasta.

What was the toughest decision to make regarding the new design?

Eiseman: The toughest decision we faced in redesigning our packaging was the placement of “Complete Protein Pasta.” As our main benefit to consumers and key differentiator from our competitors, we wanted the statement to have priority on our packaging, but we didn’t want to lose sight of what the product actually is.


Ecommerce challenges, new bioplastic technologies, a hands-on upcycling activity and more are part of the new EastPack Hub, a free 3-day program of packaging  presentations and demos at EastPack 2018 (June 12-14; New York City).


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