The Challenge

Kellogg’s US sought to refresh their Cornflakes packaging to reclaim its perceived ‘simplicity’ in a world in which FMCG packaging was undergoing a revolution. Influences such as the organic food movement, Food 2.0 brands, the threat from own label and packaging premiumization their pack graphics had changed the signifiers of simple and Kellogg’s Cornflakes was seen as out of step.

Semiotic Role

The role for semiotics was to understand simplicity through looking at the cultural construction of the simple in schema in food packaging globally. This led to the notion of as ‘managed complexity’ and that fact that ‘simple’ is a relative not absolute assessment. We found baroque maximalism in Mexico, egalitarian modernism in Canada, austerity chic in the UK, and le terroir in France.


The findings allowed Kellogg’s to streamline their packaging to address these simplicity problems. We identified three themes of empathy, revivalism and minimalism that could be flexed in Cornflakes packaging across key markets.