Steens 27+UMF Manuka Honey Hive Boxes

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Think Packaging - Steens Honey Hives

The purpose of creating such a unique box for Steens, was to be bold, stand out from the crowd, and to showcase their incredibly rare UMF grade of 27+ Mānuka honey.  

This limited edition 27+ honey is rare and precious, as New Zealand Mānuka flowers only open for a few short weeks of the year, and if conditions are right, bees are able to harvest the nectar to make honey. 27+ UMF is one of the highest grades of Mānuka honey, very limited amounts are available annually and Steens have developed a unique extraction process to ensure more of the health benefits of the honey remain, which are generally lost through commercial honey pasteurising and filtration techniques.

The goal was to create customised packaging that would attract the attention of high-end shoppers amongst all the black/gold products in an emerging and ultra-competitive Mānuka Honey category – just as honey bees are irresistibly drawn to the bright colours of flowers. The development process allowed us to challenge the status quo and create an emotional connection with consumers. Additionally, the box is supposed to be a gift. With this in mind, Steens wanted to share the feeling they have for their product – the utter joy they get from opening a hive and collecting the honey – by making it a unique and memorable unboxing experience.

We decided to collaborate with two fellow artisans to design and create our vision: David Trubridge (lighting & jewellery), and Think Packaging (structural packaging). They were handpicked because of their intrinsic passion about their craft, creating exquisitely designed products and packaging (from sustainable materials) that are recognised globally.

David Trubridge’s team pulled the inspiration of the hive design from beehives that are painted in bright, contrasting colours, commonly found in countryside landscapes. This is so bees can recognise their own homes and avoid ‘drifting’ to other hives. Exhilaratingly vibrant colours were bravely chosen for the boxes, in three different colourways. From Steens’ perspective, they are able to be confident and stand their ground in the market, as they have nothing to hide. They wanted to highlight to shoppers that they have the purest Mānuka honey, in raw form, with all the goodness possible.

We also wanted to have an element of surprise, so when the lid is removed – it reveals a flower. This was to remind the customer of the connection to nature, that the honey originates from Mānuka flowers.

It was a lengthy process but Think Packaging refined the design and meticulously engineered it to ensure the flower seamlessly opened to reveal the jar inside. Upon twisting a tab on the base of the flower, the interlocked, crosshatched petals unfurl, causing dramatic movement & wonder when revealing the jar. The jar is secured by two straps. The first strap is the ‘seatbelt’ that securely holds the jar inside the box during transit and general movement. It is threaded through and around the base of the box and finished with a tamper evident tear tab. Upon releasing the first strap, there is another that cradles the honey jar, pulling this, it allows the consumer to lift the jar out and discover the precious cargo inside. Upon further investigation of the box, you’ll find a perfect, friction fit booklet holder on the underside of the lid – containing the honey’s details and history.

Production was taken offshore, as Wrapology was sought after as being a world class luxury packaging manufacturer. Their capability of impeccable hand assembly and finishing of the components was vital as it was no small feat to produce at the standard desired. Also, only the finest paper stocks were selected – these were imported from GF Smith & Arjowiggins. We opted for quality dyed paper vs. printing the colours, to ensure the vivid colours were retained along the cut edges. And it was paramount the integrity of the paper stocks could hold up, especially under the mechanical conditions of the opening and closing flower. Procuring these beautiful papers was also important because of the ethos all parties share of low environmental impact. Both paper suppliers have FSC and other certifications, and the consumer can 100% recycle the box after use. Though, we feel that these may be treasured as a keepsake, or repurposed.

There is nothing better than giving someone special a gift that is not only precious, unique and memorable, but is also good for their health & wellbeing, and has little impact on the planet.

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Design Agency Name: Think Packaging
Organisation/Project Type: Agency, Published Commercial Design
Article Title: Steens 27+UMF Manuka Honey Hive Boxes
Brand / Project Name: Steens Honey Hives
External Design Credits: David Trubridge Studio  @davidtrubridge, Square One, Emirali Photography @kevinemirali, Ssaalltt @shiv_narandas, Woods @woodsagencynz
Production Credits : Wrapology @wrapology
Project Type: Consumer Brand Creation
Strategic Deliverables: Consumer Brand Strategy, Consumer Product Brand Architecture
Design Deliverables: Consumer Brand Identity, Consumer Brand Experience, Consumer Graphic
Packaging Design, Consumer Structural Packaging Design, Consumer Retail Brand Design
Location: New Zealand
Market Country: Multiple Countries
Market Region: Global
Project Category: Condiments
Consumer Packaging Format: Box
Consumer Substrate / Material: Pulp Board, Pulp Paper