Grounded Revival

Much has been said about provenance and origins in the last few years. Enthusiastic consumers have engaged with the values of the craft movement, allowing it to rise more than was ever conceivable.

But this exponential growth has led to a fundamental lack of differentiation and realness in the market. Increasingly disillusioned, consumers have started challenging the authenticity of the claims used by brands. With a desire to protect their local culture, as a way to resist globalisation, they find themselves longing for meaningful and tangible provenance stories.


Preece Wine of Mitchelton transcribes all data from its winemaking process into dramatic swirls of colourful paint, created by an algorithm.

The reborn popularity of terroir is in part explained by the natural focus that it puts on the ground and earth. With consumers’ growing fascination in all things ancient and natural, there is a feeling that the closer a product is to the soil that has produced it, the more trustworthy, pure and high-quality it is. Packaging design and the cues it aims to communicate are being influenced by this.

LVMH’s recent Tequilla launch Volcan de mi Tierra introduces itself as “grown from volcanic soil.” It is produced in the lowlands beneath Tequila Volcano in Mexico, which informs the bottle’s design, from the outlines of the volcano overlooking the brand’s logo to the volcano-shaped punt.

This packaging design trend, which we have termed Grounded Revival, gives a sense of place by showing hyper-local properties. By focusing on the granular – the ground and soil itself – it conveys the natural conditions that have created the product.

The latest collection from Whisky distillery Bruichladdich offers spirits that have been produced in different fields and that explore subtle differences in taste tones. To reflect the importance of a particular environment’s geography and harvest, the edition’s labels feature a map of the field and annotations on the elements that have shaped its particular taste.

Design cues as seen in the examples above allow brands to move beyond overused provenance cues and demonstrate a product’s real uniqueness. Not only do they reference the product’s terroir, but they also enhance their stories of expertise and heritage.

“Terroir is not simply a notional concept. It really does shine through in our foods and drinks, and enables us to experience the history and traditions of a place through our palate and senses.”

Claire Smith-Warner, Head of Spirits Education for Moët Hennessy

Brands’ obsession with hyper-local provenance is inspiring niche and challenger brands to start using the ground itself. Creating packaging out of dried soil, with opening experiences that require consumers to dig the product out of the ground and get their hands dirty.

Greek beauty brand AGEMA’s secondary packaging is made of a coating of dry mud from the production land. The layer must be cracked or dissolved in water in order to access the products.

By using such an unusual material, brands can tells a specific story of origin, whilst the very physical nature of the experience pushes consumers to connect with the product by directly projecting them into the land it was created in.

Poetically named El Tresor, this luxury oil from Set & Ros, comes in a recycled paper pulp vessel, shaped from a mould of a slate stone native to the brand’s land. To access the oil, the consumer has to tear the pack apart, mimicking the action of digging the ground.

This article is an excerpt from The Future of Packaging, our recent Map Insight Report that helps brands navigate the latest packaging trends with an approach that unites virtue with delight.

To request the full report, please contact Thomas Herman at thomas.herman@wearepath.com

Apply to become a subscriber here.

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