VEVEY: Nestlé, the Swiss food group, is adapting its approach to design to reflect an increasing emphasis on reaching older shoppers around the world.

The company, which makes brands including Purina pet food, Perrier water and Dreyer's ice cream, is pursuing an approach called "inclusive design", first established by the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Nestlé has formed a partnership with the university in order to enhance its credentials in this area."It is about pioneering design that benefits all our consumers," David Wiggins, Nestlé UK's head of packaging, said.

Such a model includes core tenets like delivering products that are easy to use, packaging which is clear to all customers, minimising waste and offering functional benefits like food that maintains freshness.

As part of this process, and to help shoppers with arthritis in Australia, Nestlé gave researchers special gloves simulating the effects of this condition to test on its products, and co-launched a benchmarking study covering this area with Arthritis Australia.

"Consumers want packaging that is easy to open and products that are easy to use," Fergal Barry, Arthritis Australia's strategic partnerships manager, said. "But the challenge for manufacturers up to now has been to determine how well their packaging is performing. The scale challenges their perceptions."

Nescafé Gold, the coffee, also received a packaging redesign last year, resulting in the development of a jar that was easier to hold, a "click and lock" screw cap and foil that was simpler to peel back.

Philippe Domansky, from Nestlé's Product and Technology Centre, argued that consumer insights played a key role in discovering the problems with the old design, and dealing with more aesthetic issues.

"Clearly consumers loved the shape of our existing jar; so it was a key brand asset we needed to keep," he said. "Our new jar design looks more modern, while maintaining the fundamental shape that says Nescafé Gold coffee."

Elsewhere, Nestlé's Boost ready-to-drink health and wellness brand, targeted at older shoppers at risk of malnutrition, was redesigned to provide a bottle that was also simpler to hold and open.

"Putting the consumer at the centre of packaging development means creating products and packaging that are easy to use regardless of age, disability or physical condition," Anne Roulin, Global head of packaging and design at Nestlé, said.

Data sourced from Nestlé; additional content by Warc staff