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Time to ditch ‘irritating’quirky packaging, says food guru

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Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon

With upbeat slogans such as “Get in fella!” and first person messages like “eat me!” it has transformed the way food and drink is sold, promising to create a new ‘relationship’ between product and consumer.

But so called chatty packaging – or ‘wackaging’ – may be past its sell-by date.

One of Britain’s leading food gurus is calling time on the habit of dressing up products with chummy asides and clever witticisms.

Henry Dimbleby, the founder of the Leon chain of fast-food restaurants, said it is patronising and childish, and has started to put off many shoppers.

He has even taken to writing to food firms to complain about specific examples of wackaging he finds annoying.

Mr Dimbleby, the son of the broadcaster David Dimbleby, told The Telegraph: “I hate being talked to by bottles and product packaging as if I’m their best friend!

“It’s unbelievably irritating and infantile and adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge.”

The wakaging phenomenon began with the launch of Innocent smoothies in 1999, which transformed the way drinks bottles were designed, creating a more informal approach to giving the customer information about a product’s ingredients and benefits.

Over the following years it was taken up with alacrity by marketing agencies desperate to appeal to hip young consumers.

Salad producer, Fresh & Naked, called one of its bags of lettuce Cheeky Little Mix (geddit?), while Tyrrells accompany their crisps with jaunty suggestions, such as “perfect with a pork pie hat at a rakish angle”.

One Pret a Manger bottled drink declared: “Best when chilled (as indeed we all are)” and the Swiss chocolate company Lindt’s “Hello My Name Is” range tells shoppers “I’ll make your tummy yummy” and “Is…

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