In 2012, Sundar was launched as a new South Asian product line by Save-On-Foods. Sundar was created by Western Family Foods and now is available in over 100 stores across Western Canada. What started off as a pilot project out of Surrey’s Scottdale Centre location, Sundar is now Save-On-Foods number one South Asian product line offering authentic beans, flour and spices.
Western Family contacted me to discuss a new product line they were about to start for Save-On-Foods. The combination of my South Asian heritage (bilingual in Punjabi) and design background was the missing ingredient for their project. While Western Family had done enough market research to determine there was a need for a new product line, they did not know where to begin to understand the customer base. This is why I was brought in; I was able to provide user insight.
I started my user research with a simple survey that asked two questions: 1) Do you do the grocery shopping for your household?; and 2) Do you do the cooking for your household? The results of this small survey helped strengthen my initial assumptions by showing that for 90% of South Asian households, it is primarily women who do the grocery shopping and cooking (452/500). Even with a small sample size, it was pretty clear who the target group was for this product line.
The second step of my research process involved interviewing 20 women to gather more specific information regarding their shopping habits, choices and behaviors. The major insights from these interviews were:
- they felt most competitors’ products had similar quality
- price point was an important part of their decisions
- they tended to buy in bulk quantities
- visual appeal of the packaging swayed their choice when prices were generally the same
It is the last point that caught my eye and gave me a focal point for this project. It was clear that visual appeal was a major factor in choosing a product and that the “better looking” packaging gave these women the impression of a superior product. It wasn’t rocket science, as it is well documented that humans tend to choose a product that looks superiority and high quality. With this in mind, I created a design pattern that would play to the customer’s interests. To achieve this, I brought in symbols and iconography that came from their religious and cultural backgrounds, patterns from temporary body art called henna and typography inspired from the sanskrit language.
The end result was a unique and beautiful product line. The overwhelming success of the pilot location lead to Sundar being available in Save-On-Foods stores across Western Canada. Fighting for visibility in the retail and consumer goods space is very difficult, and lucky for Western Family and myself, I was able to help the brand develop the visual recognition it needed.