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Nandos sauces

Iconic new sauce packs for Nandos

Never short on originality, Nando’’s has launched an iconic range of packaging to enhance its worldwide brand status.

In 1987, two great friends, Robbie Brozin and Fernando Duarte, discovered an authentic, flame-grilled Portuguese chicken restaurant in southern Johannesburg, and it was love at first bite! They were so impressed they resigned from their jobs and bought the restaurant, changing its name to Nando’’s. It was a move that would change the history of Portuguese-style chicken forever.

Decades later, Nando’’s authentic peri-peri, also known as the African bird’s eye chilli, is captivating customers in more than 30 countries, including South Africa, the UK, the US, Australia, UAE, Malaysia, Canada, and more. This month, Nando’’s marks another milestone in its successful history with the exciting launch of iconic retail packaging for its range of Peri-Peri sauces and marinades, the result of a project to promote its brand equity, differentiate its products on shelf and provide instant international recognition.

Nando's team 
Meghan Draddy, Nando’’s packaging innovations manager, Teresa Mordoh, marketing director, and the rest of the Nando’’s marketing team, worked closely with every supplier to achieve this iconic packaging launch.

Focusing on three core points: – bottle, label and cap,– Nando’’s brief to its packaging designers was very specific. ‘”We want to ensure Nando’’s product identity is protected internationally and developing our own iconic packaging was the way to go,’” explains Meghan Draddy, Nando’’s packaging innovations manager, who worked on the year-long project with colleagues Teresa Mordoh, marketing director, Ilze Smit, regulatory manager, and Nicolette Wandrag, brand manager.

Just like its original television advertisements, Nando’’s new packaging does create a wonderful talking point. It’’s like navigating a treasure map, from the distinct cap all the way to the bottle base, and if you’’re given the right clues you’’ll find its riches.

The special 30mm bottle cap, made of double reduced tinplate (the international norm), is easily fixed to a jar and comfortably removed. Perfect for high-volume production, it has a compound inner that creates a vacuum in the head space after the hot-filled sauce has cooled down, providing an excellent seal.

Printed on every bottle cap is the Escudo, Portugal’’s traditional currency and a symbol of national pride and quality. Its circular design denotes the armillary sphere, an important astronomical and navigational instrument used by Portuguese explorers in the ‘Age of Discoveries’. It denotes Nando’’s seal of success, integrity and passion for the family.

Massilly, Cape Town, which produces the caps for the new range, is currently preparing a high-speed production line for Nando’’s, with specialised features. Massilly is one of the world’s top three cap manufacturers, with production facilities in most western European countries and in North and South America. It’’s also in the process of setting up production plants in the middle and Far East.

Authentically Nando’s

The glass bottle is designed by Stratcom and developed by Nando’’s and Consol Glass, at its speciality glass division in Pretoria. Distinctly different, the strong shoulder is inspired by the Escudo’’s circular design and a debossed Nando’s logo with olive leaves, creating a truly iconic feature. The beautiful bottle foot has a strong foundation, emulating Afro-Portuguese architecture, making it stand proud.

On an environmental slant, the 125ml bottle weighs in at only 122g (11g lighter than its predecessor). ‘There’’s also a new bottle size in the offing,’ states Meghan, but for the moment not giving anything away.

Packing and filling of retail sauces and marinades is expertly accomplished by McCormick South Africa, in a joint venture with Nando’’s. McCormick’s has installed a modern, high-speed bottling line capable of producing over 200 bottles/min as well as a brand new high-speed labeller from Krones and an automatic Sleeve-it machine.

Project engineer for McCormick’s, Dana Coetzee, and packaging technologist, Nicholas Caunant, have worked closely with the Nando’’s marketing team to complete the impressive system at its Midrand facility. Among its features the high-speed line boasts a standard Agrip air rinse invertor to remove foreign bodies prior to filling. Bottles are filled at above 80°C via an 18-head volumetric filler, capable of 150 bottles/min. The metal cap is applied with an MY2000 automated capping machine with steam flushing capability. Designed and produced by Massilly, this is considered to be one of the most robust and highest speed machines in its class. The hot-filled product is then cooled via an overspray cooler system, after which neck sleeve and label are applied. The finished product is packed into a carton tray, shrink-wrapped and palletised for distribution.

The three-year-old partnership between McCormick South Africa and Nando’’s sees McCormick’s producing both restaurant and retail products for global distribution.

To underline its commitment to product protection, Nando’’s enrolled the expertise of Nurscon Plastics, Gauteng, to produce premium-quality neck-sleeves using a 50µm shrink PET on its new eight-colour Pelican Electronic Line Shaft (ELS) gravure press, which offers high-speed printing with fast, accurate registration and the absolute minimum of waste.

‘”We’’re privileged to have put the new press through its paces for the Nando’s neck sleeves,”’ comments Zuber Dosani, owner of Nurscon Plastics.

Nando’’s love for art is reflected in each label image, created by Cross Colours and Strategic Communications and brought to life by KB Labels. They’’re produced on a Mark Andy 2200 narrow-web flexographic press, using a white semi-gloss acrylic label material from Tiger Packaging.

The label for the sauce range features a strong ‘brush-stroked’ oval, the marinade reveals a bold diagonal stroke and the cooking sauce range is treated with a special horizontal sponge-textured technique. The complete look is cleverly accomplished using a six-colour print, using Flint Narrow Web’s UV-process colours, one spot colour, a texturised matt varnish, and a UV-gloss spot varnish.

‘”Achieving the texturised look on the labels took some time to get right. After many trials on anilox and plates we eventually achieved the exact specification, with the Nando’’s team there every step of the way. They were very enthusiastic and supportive,”’ reports Rew Wannenburg, production manager at KB Labels. 

Bill Jordaan, MD of KB Labels, has built a strong relationship with Nando’’s over the last ten years. “‘Robbie, Fernando and the team at Nando’’s are a pleasure to work with,’” he comments. “‘The company’’s philosophy permeates to all staff members and they have a great way of dealing with suppliers,”’ Bill adds.

Getting the bottles safely to market

Another company that’s proud of its relationship with long-term relationship with Nando’’s and McCormick is Shave & Gibson. S&G started producing outer trays in 2005, firstly supplying direct to Nando’s and later to McCormick.

‘”Originally, we supplied trays die-cut in the flat, for erection on-site, but subsequently we were asked to supply trays ready erected,”’ recalls Bill Furniss, S&G’’s national sales manager.

In 2007, S&G entered an agreement with a charitable organisation supporting the handicapped to erect the trays; and ever since has supplied trays fully erected, and delivered on a just-in-time basis to meet McCormick’’s production requirements. ‘”We helped Meghan with tray design for the new iconic bottles,’” Bill continues, “‘with the emphasis on holding them steady for distribution. In addition, the Nando’’s team had access to our in-house digital repro department, to hone the graphics before going to press.’”

The trays are lithographically printed in four colours with a high-gloss varnish for maximum graphic quality, laminated to single faced E-flute, to create a striking packing medium for safe distribution and on-shelf marketing.

To create consistency and recognisable brand equity, Nando’’s has established a few consistent elements for the entire range. These include a fresh ‘hand-painted’ peri-peri icon, and a new ‘peri-ometer’ device to show sauce heat levels.

Overall, the new premium packaging provides strong retail shelf impact and universal appeal, and its contemporary, individual style is cleverly crafted to accentuate the Nando’’s traditional values with an unmistakable twist.

First published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media Magazine, November/December 2010.

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