How might we rethink current frozen potato packaging to better assist commercial distributors and restaurant operators? 

The client identified their packaging as a key way of differentiating themselves from their competitors and so they wanted to hear from their customers what added value the package might have to offer.

Their current packaging was optimized for efficiency and speed within their facilities but above all to better serve their large, international fast food chains. The 6 (6 lb.) Kraft bags stuffed into a corrugated cardboard box has never really changed.

To better understand the pain points of every stakeholder in the packaging journey... 

We conducted both formal and contextual interviews at:

3   Manufacturing Plants

4   Independent Restaurants

3   Quick Service Restaurants

3   Casual Dining Restaurants

2   Distributors


For the 12 site visits, we involved the client early on by having at least one representative from their long term innovation team present for the visits, along with a lead interviewer and secondary interviewer. To ensure consistency in the interview protocol, I wrote the field guide and managed all the revisions. 

What did we learn?

Distributors diligently avoid even slightly damaged cases because they can compromise a whole pallet. But the longer a case remains in a warehouse, the more likely damage will compound. 


Quick service restaurants have lower engagement with packaging because the volumes are soo high but they are most likely to have a very high compliance rate with proper frozen potato instructions. 

Casual dining restaurants have a higher rate of engagement with packaging because they are more likely to cook per order, despite relatively high order volumes. 

All of the independents interviewed cited price as the driver of their purchasing decisions. Independents were more likely to be able to tell us how much they paid for their last order of fries rather than the brand.

Based on the insights from these interviews, we developed personas to help better illustrate the most common pain points with the fry packaging.