Steel a perfect fit for North Export delicacy: Stappan luxury arctic Bacalao

Well known for its strength and unique 100% barrier properties, steel offer brands many advantages for their packaging in terms of protecting the product and ensuring it reaches the consumer in perfect condition.

But when the creative agency Contagious was briefed by North Export to produce new packaging for its luxury salted cod, the strength of steel was just one of qualities required. Designing a premium package with real shelf stand out was an equally important part of the deal.

Since 1945 the North Export Company has taken the finest line-caught cod from the waters beneath Stappan Mountain on the northern tip of the Norwegian coastline, filleted the fish by hand and buried it in salt to create the delicacy: Stappan Luxury Arctic Bacalao.

Popular across Europe, individual tins of Stappan Luxury Arctic Bacalao command a premium price, and such is its reputation, the delicacy is often presented as a gift to dignitaries visiting Norway. It has even been presented as a gift to the country’s king and queen.

Briefed to create a new form of packaging for the luxury product, Contagious needed to design something which told this story, communicated the rich heritage of the brand and which ensured the contents always arrived at their destination in perfect condition.

The designers also needed to create something that felt like a premium product when handled and which could be stored in a chilled environment.

Steel was quickly identified as the best packaging material, fulfilling all of North Export’s requirements and offering Contagious numerous advantages in terms of the design brief while remaining more competitively priced than competing materials.

James Hartigan, packaging design director at Contagious, said: “We wanted to create something which immediately communicated the premium nature of the product but which also spoke of the brand’s rich history.

“Steel allowed us to make use of techniques such as embossing and debossing to add large amounts of fine detail to the tin. It’s weight and strength complemented the premium nature of the product and helped Contagious to produce something which could be used again and again.

“A material which allows texture to be created more easily as well as other features such as contours which were a key element in the design of the Stappan tin, steel was the perfect choice.

“Steel also allowed us to create the exquisite detail visible on the tin, this playing an important role in differentiating the brand, ensuring it carried all the hall marks of a premium product as well as becoming a valued keepsake in its own right.”

Providing a complete barrier to protect the product and offering significant advantages for the creation of exclusive designs, the unique properties of steel for packaging are recognised by premium brands today across the food and beverage industry affirming steel’s position as a model material for the circular economy and for the 21st century.