Supporting Dairy Farmers in Ethiopia Through Impactful Designs

Photo of packaging design with cow graphic

Supporting Dairy Farmers in Ethiopia Through Impactful Designs


Kris Zamora is an in-house creative at Hershey and spends his days supporting internal teams by developing content from animated advertisements to conceptualizing new product ideas. Motivated by his desire to make a greater impact, Kris joined a brand design project with Alliance for Inclusive and Nutritious Food Processing (AINFP) client Rut & Hirut that allowed him to learn new skills and give back in a meaningful way. Rut & Hirut is a women-owned dairy processing company located outside Addis Ababa that produces various products including pasteurized milk, yogurt, cheese and butter. The company was established with the goal of improving the livelihoods of farmers, and has supported hundreds of female dairy farmers over the years. “All the work that was done with this volunteer project not only benefits the business owners, but also the broader community,” Kris said. “Knowing my work made a difference for someone else’s life directly is all that I could ever ask for.”

In collaboration with PFS, TechnoServe and USAID, Kris worked on creating an effective design strategy that would allow Rut & Hirut to penetrate the bottom of the pyramid market and increase sales. “I can’t speak Amharic (the official language of Ethiopia) nor can I read or write it,” said Kris. “Working on the packaging design for this project did require a little bit of patience on my end given there was a quick learning curve.” This project not only pushed Kris outside his comfort zone, but allowed him to build upon his communication and cross-cultural competencies. “When I was working on the logo rebrand, part of the logo had a small heart shape icon in it. I had to ask myself ‘Is a heart shape universally recognizable? Does a heart shape mean something different in other cultures?’ This is something I normally do not need to consider in my day job and is something that I believe will make me a better overall designer and creative.”

Kris’ favorite part of the project was during the packaging design concept phase for Rut & Hirut’s milk products. Initially, Rut & Hirut chose the design concept that most closely reflected their current brand look. Before making any final decisions, Rut & Hirut decided to go out into the community and share the design concepts with the locals to see which designs they liked the most. “I thought this was a smart and strategic decision by Rut & Hirut to get the local community’s input on the design,” said Kris. “Ultimately, after receiving feedback from locals, Rut & Hirut decided to go with the bolder packaging design concept. This look was more aligned with what their current and future consumers wanted and brought some valuable insights into our packaging design project.” Since the project closed last year, the product in its new packaging design has entered the market. Rut & Hirut have reported that consumers are finding the improved packaging to be very attractive.


*The Alliance for Inclusive and Nutritious Food Processing (AINFP) is helping unlock the potential of the food processing sector by providing technical assistance and sector-wide training to food processors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. AINFP is co-funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and by Partners in Food Solutions, through private funding and in-kind contributions of employee time from its corporate partners. TechnoServe is leading project implementation on the ground. 

General Mills
General Mills, the founding member of Partners in Food Solutions, is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 150,000 people in 70 countries.
Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders.
Bühler is a global leader in the field of process engineering, in particular production technologies and services for producing foods and manufacturing advanced materials. Bühler operates in over 140 countries and has a over 10,000 employees worldwide.
The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, PA, is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks.
Ardent Mills
Ardent Mills is dedicated to helping our customers innovate and grow, with the industry’s broadest range of flours, mixes, blends and specialty products.
Inspired by more than 120 years of business success and five generations of family leadership, The J. M. Smucker Company makes food that people and pets love. The Company’s portfolio of 40+ brands, which are found in 90 percent of U.S. homes and countless restaurants, include iconic products consumers have always loved such as Folgers, Jif and Milk-Bone plus new favorites like Café Bustelo, Smucker’s Uncrustables and Rachael Ray Nutrish.