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.