Talking jars: Francesco Rinaldi launches first AR technology in pasta sauce category

Talking jars: Francesco Rinaldi launches first AR technology in pasta sauce category

13 Dec 2018 --- Francesco Rinaldi has become the first pasta sauce brand to incorporate Augmented Reality (AR) technology into its packaging. In a move anticipated to enhance brand loyalty and increase sales, consumers can scan Rinaldi jar labels with a smartphone and watch the brand’s icon, Mrs. Rinaldi, deliver “an entertaining and engaging product message” via a downloadable app.

“The main reason for integrating AR technology was to disrupt the pasta sauce category in a big way,” Mary DeMarco, Creative & Branding Director of LiDestri Food & Drink, producers of Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauces, tells PackagingInsights. “The pasta sauce aisle is a sea of red, more or less a commodity product. I wanted to ‘shake it up’ by actually having the brand icon come alive on the jars through AR.”

Tradition married with technology
Despite this recent nod to technology, Francesco Rinaldi reaffirms that “traditions are the heart and soul of the brand.” Its pasta sauce originated from a family recipe that was handed down for many generations and its unique spice blend has remained unchanged for nearly four decades.

Click to Enlarge

“The iconic Mrs. Rinaldi has graced the Francesco Rinaldi label for nearly 40 years and now at long last she speaks,” DeMarco says. “Through AR, we are celebrating by looking forward and focusing on technology, all the while staying true to our traditional pasta sauce recipes and Italian culture.”

According to DeMarco, this technology was made-to-order for Francesco Rinaldi thanks to the iconic label featuring Mrs. Rinaldi. “She has always been an easily-identifiable and strong symbol for the brand. And now, thanks to this new app, we can hear and see her come alive,” she says.

Mrs. Rinaldi, speaking in her Italian accent, is featured in three separate messages, including the brand’s “creamy” Alfredo sauces; its new line of organic pasta sauces; and the brand’s sustainable packaging called the Living Jar. Visual promotions will be in some US stores in December where Francesco Rinaldi brands are sold.

“The app enables us to reach a new generation of pasta sauce lovers by being innovative and disrupting tradition a little. And yet by featuring Mrs. Rinaldi, who shows a whole lot of personality, the brand is embracing its heritage of hard work, integrity and culture,” says DeMarco.

Understanding the consumer
Connective packaging technologies such as AR can enhance brand appeal, but they can also enable brands to collect valuable data about consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. From this data, sales and marketing strategies can be optimized.

“Through this new AR technology, we are able to accumulate data on the number of downloads, number of engagements and extended engagements,” says DeMarco. “We can even geo-target where the app is being used.”

“The app is young – not even two months – so data is premature at this stage. Hopefully, though, we can see a lift in sales that correlates to app usage,” she adds.

Living Jar
The integrated AR technology is available on Francesco Rinaldi’s sustainable Living Jar. The Living Jar is a substitute for glass packaging, which is lightweight, BPA-free, shatterproof and has a significantly smaller eco-footprint than its glass counterpart.

The Francesco Rinaldi brand also highlights that lightweighted jars result in less fuel usage. The jar has numerous benefits when it comes to the environment, such as lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to the glass alternative, the company says.

Furthermore, the jar is shatterproof, eliminating the safety risk of glass breakage in stores in addition to homes. The plastic jar is also more manufacturing friendly for employees as it lowers noise level in the manufacturing operation. LightClick to Enlargeer weight can also be an ergonomic benefit to employees stocking store shelves.

Francesco Rinaldi was able to develop its integrated AR technology by working with US vendor, Twisted Rope, who created the designated app. AR technology is new to the pasta sauce aisle, but not to products such as 19 Crimes wine, which has reported significant success with AR enhancements. 

The brand’s Living Jar and Francesco Rinaldi AR app are examples of grocery shopping becoming a more “thoughtful and engaging experience,” De Marco concludes. “If you can bring the label on a jar of sauce to life with your smartphone, who knows what’s next?”

Connected packaging and the Internet of Things has opened up a world of possibilities for brands to communicate with their customers in more engaging and proactive ways. Brand owners are beginning to realize the massive potential of pioneering technologies such as Near-Field communication (NFC), QR codes, barcode scan and AR in increasing brand loyalty and awareness and better understanding consumer behavior.

By Joshua Poole

To contact our editorial team please email us at

Related Articles

17 Jan 2019 --- A notable collaboration between Nestlé and Danimer Scientific may produce a marine biodegradable water bottle prototype in the next two to three years. The partnership is part of the company’s broader plan to reach its “waste-free future” vision. The plan looks beyond recycling, to include further investment in research alternatives to plastic material.
17 Jan 2019 --- Danone has collaborated with Amcor to produce a transparent, wide-mouth, spoonable jar for its all-natural yogurt, sold in Argentina. Appealing to the growing “mindful consumer” market in Latin America, the 200ml jar is made from transparent PET, meaning it is 100 percent recyclable, while consumers can easily see the all-nature yogurt through the jar.
16 Jan 2019 --- As the pressure to tackle mounting plastic waste continues, 30 companies have joined forces to launch the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). Comprising companies from across the plastic value chain, including petrochemical companies ExxonMobil and Shell, consumer companies Dow and Procter and Gamble (P&G), as well as recycling companies Veolia and Suez, the alliance has pledged US$1.5 billion towards plastic recycling and clean-up efforts over the next five years.
16 Jan 2019 --- Spanish supermarket chain Eroski has introduced a handful of own-brand products featuring Nutri-Score labeling. This makes Eroski the first distribution company in Spain to incorporate this “advanced nutrition” labeling. The Nutri-Score system classifies foods into five levels, indicated by colored letters – from “A” in dark green to “E” in dark orange. It is calculated on the basis of the calories, the nutrients which are beneficial for our health – fiber, protein, amount of fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses – and nutrients whose intake should be reduced – saturated fat, salt and sugar – per 100 grams of the product.
16 Jan 2019 --- UK supermarket chain Waitrose has ceased using black plastic to package hundreds of its own-label products. It plans to completely eradicate hard-to-recycle black plastics from own-label products by the end of 2019. Waitrose is also encouraging customers to bring reusable containers to the supermarket’s fresh service counters to minimize the use of plastic bags.