French-born Vanessa Morgenstern-Kenan founded her gourmet vegan chocolate company, Hnina, Inc., on a three-pronged philosophy: “Healthy, Happy and Holistic.” Based in Los Angeles, Hnina rolled out its collection of handcrafted raw vegan dark chocolates in 2014, with packaging carefully crafted to convey the purity and wholesomeness of the confections, while imparting a luxury feel.
Since its launch, Hnina has been committed to eco-friendly practices. “We strive to preserve sustainability by using ingredients that are grown in biodiversity and that are produced as locally as possible,” says CEO Morgenstern-Kenan. “We are dedicated to remaining close to nature and far from any unnatural, processed, engineered, and unhealthy practices.”
This commitment has extended to the design of its gourmet chocolate packaging, which comprises boxes made from 100% recycled, biodegradable kraft paperboard manufactured with wind energy.
For the structural design of the package, Hnina conveyed several functional and aesthetic requirements to its package designer, K-1 Packaging Group. One unique request was that the packaging enrich the sense of smell. “We wanted packaging materials that would accentuate the aromas of the chocolates even before opening the box,” explains Morgenstern-Kenan. “We found that the intense aromas are infused into the more porous kraft paper, and the package smells delicious.”
Another requirement was that the assortment boxes for different chocolate varieties have the same footprint, regardless of whether the truffle inside was a “rock” (medium-size truffle) or a “boulder” (large), which Morgenstern-Kenan says was important from both a paper efficiency and a merchandising standpoint. The resulting design includes two versions, where the length and width of the boxes are the same, and the depth varies.
A smaller box holds either a single boulder or a single “brick”—Hnina’s 185-g bar-size offering. A fifth format comprises a kraft paper bag decorated with a 100% recycled-fiber kraft label, for orders of “pebbles” (small chocolates) or rocks in quantities of less than 12.
Aesthetically, Hnina was looking for a box that conveyed luxury using both touch—through the soft texture of the kraft paper—and decoration, which includes graphics reminiscent of Japanese Nanga art, warm colors, a wax seal, and a ribbon. Brazilian designer Isabela Rodrigues created the graphics, which include watercolor-like artwork of nut trees as the main image.
The company logo is made up of four leaves whose brown, dark rose, and green colors are drawn from the chocolate family and from nature. The four leaves form mirror images of the letter “C” for chocolate; the two “Cs” together form the “H” of Hnina. In addition, the “A” in Hnina depicts the Eifel Tower as homage to the company’s French influence.
“The consumer looking at the packaging makes an association between the kraft paper and the choice of colors with our handmade, artisanal, wholesome, down-to-earth, and pure characteristics,” says Morgenstern-Kenan. “The extra touches such as the wax seal and the ribbon provide the message that this is a luxury product.”
Hnina’s truffles are available for sale individually or in assortment boxes on the company’s website at prices ranging from $2.99 to $49.99.