Nescafé ALC Recharge

Keepin' it fresh

The recharge canister concept for Nescafé in Japan was a result of a FastPack package ideation workshop we conducted in Kobe, Japan. And you push the cylinder down on the jar neck to break the foil cover and fill the jar in one motion.

The process is so visual that soon kids were their mothers if they could fill the jars. The multisensory experienced lent itself to great TV spots which further strengthened the brand experience. 

Nescafé ALC recharge - Case Study

Nescafé Japan did extensive research with consumers to understand their attitudes about coffee and in particular their soluble coffee product. Japanese consumers tend to buy a glass jar of Nescafé and then refill that jar with cheaper bag refills. They rely on the original jar to keep the tightness necessary to insure the product does not lose its flavor.

The research uncovered the fact that consumers felt that the process of transferring the coffee granules from the bag to the jar exposed the product to too much air and allowed the aroma to escape. That insight translated to a potential opportunity to re-imagine the refill package to see if the transfer process during refill could be managed to retain more of the freshness of the product.

M Design was asked to prepare for and then travel to Japan to conduct a FastPack workshop in Kobe to create new package concepts for the Nescafé refill. Working closely with a cross-functional team of 22 Nestlé stakeholders, we helped them create over 200 concepts. Our process helped the group focus down on the 8 best concepts, which were refined and mocked up on the second day of the workshop.

The highest-ranking design concept was refined and industrialized by Nestlé Japan. The package provided for transferring the coffee granules from a paperboard cylinder to the jar by pressing the cylinder down on the jar neck, breaking a foil membrane and guiding the product into the jar without mess and without much air exposure.

In addition to preserving the freshness of the product, the refill ritual became so engaging that children would often asked their mothers if they could have a turn.  A television ad campaign was built around the new ritual and proved successful.

Enter M Design 2 years later. Nescafé had introduced the refill package and was selling them, even though the refill package was costing more to produce than the primary pack! That is a testament to the faith Nestlé Japan had in the concept.  We were called in to conduct a TechPack workshop with supplier partners and another cross-functional Nestlé team to find ways of lowering the package cost.

Over the two days of the workshop, the TechPack participants were able to reduce the price of the package to meet cost goals. Later that same week, M Design facilitated a FastPack workshop to look at the next generation of refill packaging with an eye towards increasing sustainability and further reducing cost.

The concepts that were developed in this FastPack workshop were analyzed in a package life cycle analysis program and the total carbon footprint was looked at for the top 4 designs. M Design did further design refinement and fabricated 3d mock ups of the package concepts and produced computer renderings and animations showing the refill function of the concepts.

The leading second generation refill concept from the workshop is now under development.