Creative Strategist – Jess Willemse


A collection of my wandering thoughts on design, brands, books, music and the like.​

Everyday Gourmet: Pams Finest and the Reinvention of Regular


Craft over commodity.
Ingredients over instantaneous.
Flavour over fads.

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This article was first published on Richards Partners website.

Shock horror, there is a changing attitude towards food. No longer are we piling up on frozen Wattie’s TV dinners or half-empty bags of Bluebirds chips. Something in the supermarket stratosphere has shifted. People have actually started caring. Caring about what they eat, where it’s from, what’s in it and how it nourishes themselves and their family. Bothering to care can be a wonderful catalyst for change.


Legacy brands lining the shelves

As is always the case with change, we’ve seen a lot of resistance in the food retail category. Legacy brands hanging on to post-WW2 tastes are at risk of becoming irrelevant. Modern shoppers have moved on from bland palates perpetuated by manufactured, commercialised offerings. They’re simply waiting for the industry to catch-up now.

As designers, we see this ignorance of customer understanding illustrated in the graphic anarchy that lines supermarket shelves. Who knew you needed so many mascot characters to sell mediocre cookies? This patronising branding approach is becoming increasingly unsustainable in an age of discerning shoppers. Simply put, sickly saturated colours and poorly rendered cartoons don’t bode well with those who care about quality, provenance and most importantly, taste.


Fine-dining from your couch

There is no denying that the Netflix generation love a good weekend avocado toast out with friends. However, more and more people are seeking to take these taste experiences home with them.

Case in point, the rise of choice-driven, on-demand food delivery. Quickly edging out the likes of Dominoe’s, Uber Eats can now deliver your favourite green juice and poke bowl to the comfort of your home.

From couch-potato to couch-luxe, there’s no reason why the food retail category can’t have a slice of this consumer-habit pie. Brands have started to sit up and take notice. Some have even tried to dupe customers with provincial-inspired packaging. But band-aid solutions are not the answer here. Noticeable change is coming from an unsuspecting iconic Kiwi classic – Pams.

A small selection of the Pams Finest range. Image by Foodstuffs NZ.

A small selection of the Pams Finest range. Image by Foodstuffs NZ.

The reinvention of regular

The recent release of Pams Finest range sees Pams tap into this ‘treat yourself’ mentality. Food is no longer simply functional – today's discerning customer also seeks discovery and delight in each culinary experience.

We often forget that food is about creating moments of joy, even in the everyday. This is exactly what Pams Finest is trying to facilitate for shoppers. Wednesday night gourmet is made more accessible with unsuspecting flavours and quality ingredients, locally sourced and produced. At a fair price point and widely distributed, Pams Finest is for the foodie with Moët taste on a Steinlager budget.

Rod Gibson, general manager at Foodstuffs tells Supermarket News about the motivation behind the development of the premium product line.

“It was time to look at every product and evaluate how it performed and whether we were still meeting the changing needs of our shoppers. It’s more than just freshening up a logo and our packaging, it was about looking for and launching new products which are more relevant in today’s market.”

This is not just a story about fast-changing industry landscapes, which each and every one of has to deal with regardless of category or product. It’s a story about reinvention and the need to stay relevant. Many brands talk the talk, but few take action. This move by Pams evidently places sound customer insights at the core of product development and brand relevance.

Although still relatively new to the market, this strategy seems to already be paying dividends in social conversation and brand advocacy. Social media shows an overwhelmingly positive response to the new everyday-luxe range. These comments only account for a fraction of the family dinner tables, cocktail parties, cheese boards and Netflix nights that Pams Finest products will be gracing. In these settings, we can only presume the most powerful words in food retail will be muttered through half-full mouths:

“That’s delicious! What is it?”

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Pams. However, if someone from Pams would like to sponsor me, my pantry is always open.