Plenty, an indoor vertical farming company, has a new visual brand that uses the psychology of fast food to get you to eat your greens.
The identity, by design agency &Walsh, is a branding trojan horse that dresses up blasé leafy greens in a fun new package. It deftly uses color psychology to splash the packaging with ketchupy reds and mustardy yellows that have been shown to inspire hunger. Outside the colors themselves, its most prominent visual feature is the custom typography, naturally called Plenty, which has curved strokes and pointy, leaf-like corners that paint the product as a delectable choice for taste, not health.
Fast food brands have been doing this visual sleight of hand forever. Just think about the companies with red and/or yellow in their branding: McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Chic Fil A, In N Out Burger, Taco Bell, Checkers. Red inspires hunger; yellow sparks happiness; McDonald’s wants you to feel both when you’re deciding whether or not to pull into the drive through or keep going.
Plenty is putting the same psychology to use in the produce aisle. It makes for a stark contrast. Unlike other packaging that emphasizes greens as a conscious health choice, Plenty sells the consumer on its lettuce with bright, rich colors to signal it’s a craveable product. Of course, once you open the package, your taste buds will tell you those aren’t fries. But by that point, the packaging has done its job and made the sale.
Plenty, which launched in 2013 in San Francisco, raised $140 million in Series D funding last fall and said its products would be available in all California Albertsons stores. While its current offerings are limited to leafy greens, it also announced a partnership with Driscoll’s to grow strawberries at its indoor farming facility.
“The goal for the rebrand was to make the packaging and brand feel more warm and accessible,” says &Walsh founder and creative director Jessica Walsh. “Almost all greens brands use a similar design aesthetic, so we aimed for the packaging to pop off of the shelf to pique people’s interest.” (Interestingly, Burger King’s recent rebrand employs some of the same visual tactics to play up their food, with colors directly pulled from menu items and rounded curves to make it appear more appetizing.)
Walsh says the logo and packaging went through extensive audience testing before they landed on the final visual. Plenty plays into the psychology of when your heart says fries, but your head says kale salad. For a brief moment, while it’s in the cart, you can have both.