The Merre brand is the result of one visionary Western Australian farm to educate people about the Wheatbelt and more specifically about their regional town of Merredin and the golden goodness of the oats grown there.
Overnight Oats is both a delicious and healthy breakfast inspiring Merre with the vision to enter the breakfast cereal market – except with one defining difference – the ingredients must only be sourced from Western Australia. The State is bathed in sunshine and abundant with whole food producers who grow some of Australia’s premium fruit, nuts and honey, key ingredients of the granola and the goal was to showcase them all.
Turning the vision into reality started in the kitchen. Assistance from Grow Consultancy leveraged their experience and expertise of the food industry as a food technologist to ensure their idea of a home-based recipe and key message of highlighting Western Australian produce could be achieved as a safe, shelf stable and high quality product.
Commercial kitchen food handling, sourcing additional premium ingredients from within regional Western Australia, recipe development, testing and defining the value propositions of the concept were just a few of the ways in which Grow worked with Merre. ‘Primarily, the Merre brand consists of Merredin farm grown oats, rolled and toasted in small batches. Packed into single serves for your convenience and your creativity –add berries from your garden, apples from your tree or the freshest of the fresh produce from your local farmers market. Merre Granola guarantees you a sound nutritional foundation of whole grains and healthy oils in the freshest products. Whatever your mood when you wake up the morning – crunchy, nutty or smooth – Merre Granola has the healthy whole grain breakfast for you’.
What’s in a name?
While the collaborations continued in the kitchen, attention was turned to the branding and packaging – and it began with the name. After a few rounds of brainstorming and refining ‘Merre Granola’ said it all. Derived from the town’s namesake, Merredin and shortened to Merre not only gave provenance to the brand but connected to consumers with its emotive qualities of ‘merriness,’ much like a warm bowl of oats on a cold winter’s morning!
Inspired by the long history of the golden fields of the Wheatbelt region, the logo was developed first. Its typographical solution is based on the classical forms of type with modern, vintage-styled typography arced on a curve to mimic the rising sun. Emphasized with gold foil finishes which allude to its birthplace in the Goldfields of Western Australia, it highlights the premium qualities of the brand.
Researching the region revealed thousands of tourists visit the Wheatbelt each Sping to witness the spectacular annual display of wildflowers. Directly inspired by this magical landscape, the brand introduces the native blue wren as the Merre Granola mascot. The design details, through a modern engraving style, hand-drawn illustrations which showcase the artisan qualities of the product and acknowledge the generations of farmers who have worked the land. The illustration frames the varietal name and blend and features a well known icon of the area – Merredin’s Peak at the top of it. The sun rises behind the peak, casting its golden glow across the beautiful wildflowers and the natural surrounding landscape.
The forest green, coral sunset and brilliant blue colours reflect the changing light on the landscape which are complimented with the gold foil – a smart contrast against the pale gold colour of the granola. Completed with honest and natural language describing the granola blend, each single serve is visible within its clear pouch – all its contents proudly on display while the card wrap heros the brand and Western Australian origins.
In the Marketplace
Launched in November 2020, the response to the both the design and produce has been exceptional. Founder, Estelle Madaffari commented:
“My experience with Dessein was positive right from the word go. The team brought creativity, experience and honesty which is so important when you have a vision in mind for your product and want to bring it to life…
I wanted the brand to educate people about the Wheatbelt and its produce. I also wanted it to present that the ingredients we use in the granola are only sourced from Western Australia. Dessein grasped this message by introducing the Wren bird into our brand. The Wren surprisingly is found right across Western Australia reflecting where our ingredients are sown & grown. And, through illustration, the brand also captures the Wheatbelt’s wildflowers, breathtaking sunsets & the oat plant reflecting its beauty, uniqueness and its food produce.
When I am selling Merre, people’s eyes light up and they comment on how beautiful the branding and packaging is. Merre has also been used as a unique gift, used as corporate promo gifts and in Christmas hamper boxes. I know this is because of its complementary brand.
I only had vision not a final product. I engaged with Susanna for her knowledge and technical expertise about how to transform my concept in to a viable product that I can produce safely and efficiently every time. I brought Dessein in for their experience and capability in developing food branding in WA which I had seen in other WA products they developed. And, although I have a background in PR/Marketing, I knew Dessein were the team I needed engage to create a brand that would match the high quality localised product I wanted Merre to be. I think the key was that I engaged in these teams for experience, honestly and capability. I listened to their advice and worked with their abilities”.
When asked if she felt her goals were achieved, Estelle replied, ‘Yes. It was always great to have both the experts from Dessein and Grow Consultancy in the same room together. We could collectively bounce ideas and concepts off each other to determine what may or may not work in the market for the branding and the food product. I would not hesitate to engage both Dessein and Grow Consultancy if you want a high quality brand concept to match your commercially viable food product’.
The final Granola showcases 98% of Western Australian ingredients – with cinnamon and vanilla being the only ingredients sourced elsewhere, an amazing result for Merre Granola and while the brand is still in its infancy, the collaborative work of Susanna Morley-Wong from Grow Consultancy, Dessein and Merre Granola demonstrate how there is room for more brands to fit an already heavy market category and be successful. With the right team work and attention to detail, the Merre Granola story has been brought to life with a brand which reflects the founder’s vision. Breakfast anyone?