Marketing products can be a difficult process that requires trial-and-error to achieve goals, but that doesn't mean care shouldn't be taken in the initial designs of food labels. In Germany, a recent decision on behalf of the Edeka supermarket to package sausages differently for male and female consumers has gained some notoriety. Whether or not that infamy leads to more sales, it should give companies pause before drawing up designs that could be perceived in a negative light.
The two styles of bratwurst, made by a local company known as Rasting, feature different images and flavors for their target gender, with "women's sausages" described as consisting of vegetables and "particularly lean meat," as the German edition of The Local said. Each version also employs a lightly provocative image of the opposite sex on its corresponding label, keeping with the idea that these were for completely separate audiences.
The article quoted Suzanne Enz, a local journalist who attempted to get an answer from the company as to this decision by writing them a letter. In it, Enz reportedly claims this campaign "affects the perceptions of people, even in small, seemingly trivial, playful contexts, and stands stubbornly in the way of gender equality."
Businesses that wish to avoid upsetting their customers need to take care to consider ways of making labels that can be bold and exciting without going too far. Doing so requires time, of course, but it's time that businesses can save by keeping a color label printer primed in-house and ready to make the desired product packaging a reality.