From emoji-shaped cheese to burgers for every emotion, food product launches have been involving and targeting consumers’ moods.

Emotions and food

This could tap into customisation and personalisation trends currently at play on the market, but brands may not be making the most of it. They are offering the illusion of a tailored experience using packaging, instead of fully committing to the concept by offering functional benefits tailored to their consumers.

Burger King

Recently, there has been a flurry of emoji or mood-based food product launches. Burger King launched a range of ‘Real Meals’ that included five emotion-themed packaged foods, ranging from excited (‘YAAAS Meal’) to sad (‘Blue Meal’), for Mental Health Awareness Month.

Each of these will be in a different coloured box and packaging but all will taste the same. Kerry Foods has added a new product, involving the same type of cheese formed in different emoji shapes, to its ‘String and Things’ brand.


And for the first time since the 1900s, Hershey’s chocolate bar is getting a limited redesign, heavily featuring emojis. One of the 25 most popular emojis are to be stamped on each rectangle of the chocolate bar, and the packaging is to receive six new emoji redesigns as well, each featuring a different face-based emoji and capturing a different mood.

Kristen Ohm, a senior manager, explained that Hershey is aiming to promote interaction with the product, stating “we hope that parents and kids are inspired to share a chocolate emoji and make a connection with someone new.” With the range of mood-related packaging for Hershey’s and Burger King’s new launches, consumers are given the illusion of a tailored experience, as customers can choose which emotion or emoji best fits their current emotion.

However, as the taste of the product does not vary across different packaging types, these product launches are all about emotional engagement and interactivity without offering up any added functional benefit. Without any justification in the formula of the product, this is ‘tailored’ experience that extends only to packaging.

To truly embrace the era of personalised and customised foods, brands should go beyond packaging and tailor to certain moods with ingredients and textures. A ‘sad’ item could offer a soothing or comforting aspect, ‘sleepy’ could include zesty ingredients or ‘angry’ could contain spicy flavours.

According to 2018 GlobalData global consumer survey, 57% of consumers find that they are always or often influenced by how well a food product is tailored to their needs and personality. Brands could captalise on that by pushing these attempts at personalisation a little further.


Twinings’ Superblends line is one example of mood-personalised products with functional benefits, with tea infusions called ‘Calm’, ‘Sleep’, and ‘Energise’. Each product in the range claims to contains an ingredient that actively addresses the consumers’ needs, as advertised.