Sainsbury’s SO Organic

Sainsbury’s pioneered own-label organic food in the 1980s. By 2004, they’d dropped to number two with growth of 6% in a market rising by 15%, costing them £19m in lost revenue. Fingers pointed to the formulaic packaging, which said little about the offer and lacked differentiation.

WMH created the SO name and a ruthlessly simple, compelling design strategy that democratised organic food. By helping people understand organic food, what it was about and why it was good, Sainsbury’s could win back hearts, minds and wallets.

The £300,000 design budget paid for itself in one week. Sainsbury’s reclaimed the ‘own-label organic’ number one spot within six months, and SO made £11.9m profits in nine months. The City attributed these successes as one of the reasons behind Sainsbury’s changed fortunes. Design gongs included a DBA Design Effectiveness Award, and ten years on, the design remains unchanged.