Creating product line extensions for one of the fastest-growing natural beverage companies

Headed by Odwalla founder Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms emerged in 2010 to create disruption in the natural food channel and major grocery stores with their Almondmilks, Cold Brew Coffees and Citrus Juices packaged in an iconic, curvy carafe bottle.

With the company growing and innovating at a rapid pace, how do you design line extensions in different packaging forms while retaining the essence of the brand? Our solution was a collaborative partnership with Califia in distinguishing brand opportunities and extending their visual identity system.

The result is a packaging system rooted in clarity, simplicity, distinction, and transparency.


  • Brand Research & Strategy

  • Packaging Design

  • Marketing Collateral

  • Printing/Vendor Management

Rooted in health, innovation, and sustainability

Based in the San Joaquin Valley, Califia Farms’ mission is to innovate delicious plant-powered foods for mindful nourishment. As a brand that values artisanal processes, quality ingredients, and sustainable sourcing, it was important that these values aligned with the overall strategy of the packaging aesthetic and architecture.

In less than a decade, the company has become the “fastest-growing natural beverage company in the U.S., as well as the leading brand in the natural products coffee drinks category.

Project Goals

  1. Create product extension packaging designs that are unique to the category and that are true to the brand aesthetic
  2. Communicate clarity, simplicity and value in the marketplace
  3. Build clear distinction between each product line while retaining the essence of the brand
  4. Connect to the audience of various beverage channels (natural vs. conventional v. c-store)
  5. Assist in propelling innovation in the beverage space

Disrupting the market space and leveraging opportunities

In strategizing the packaging design for Califia’s product lines, a key initial step is understanding the market space and finding opportunity gaps. An assessment of the competition in the different grocery channels as well as an understanding of the consumer and what resonates with them allowed us to form a strong hierarchy of messaging points in our designs. We also uncovered that having a unique packaging form factor like their “curvy” carafes allows for distinction and disruption on shelf.

In addition, we took a look at emerging trends from a product and packaging perspective and challenged Califia in seeing how far we can push the brand.

Empathizing with the consumer and understanding what they value

Through research and strategy, we were able to immerse ourselves into the psyche of Califia’s key demographic – millennials. As an influential generation, it was important to understand their habits, purchasing decisions and how they can integrate Califia’s products into their lifestyle. We uncovered that millennials seek simple and clean products that are not only sustainable, but also delicious. Our knowledge of the consumer allows us to dial-in the communication points they search for while browsing the grocery aisles and helps us ensure that our designs clearly communicate their needs.

“The relationship that a lot of Baby Boomers have with their millennial children, that whole transference around what’s cool and what’s good to drink or eat… is driven by the millennials,
but adopted by the other two generations.”

– Califia Farms CEO, and Odwalla co-founder, Greg Steltenpohl

Developing an architecture that resonates with consumers

Our knowledge and understanding of the Califia consumer allowed us to develop a system for all of their product lines that speak to their respective key demographic – milks and creamers skew more on the lighter, “feminine” side whereas the coffee product lines have more of a “bold and masculine” aesthetic.

Creatively executed, Strategically produced

From the valuable information gathered from our research and strategy, the next approach in initiating our creative process is uncovering visual opportunities that align with the overarching brand essence. Brand awareness and recognition are facilitated by a visual identity that is easy to remember and immediately recognizable. Our process below allows us to “push and pull” in exploring ideas for individual product lines.

  • Shape Studies

    With an understanding that the brain acknowledges distinctive shapes first, this process allows us to explore unique shapes while ensuring that it balances well with the distinct packaging form.

  • Ideation Through Words & Visuals

    This stage is where we marry visuals with words to create concepts, and strategize how we want to push and position the product line from a design standpoint.

  • Color & Flavor Appeal

    Our assessment of the market space allows us to understand the importance of consumer taste appeal and how color and imagery can play a significant role in their purchasing habits.

Involved from Start to Finish

As agency of record for Califia Farms’ consumer packaged goods, it was important for us to be part of the packaging design process from start to finish. We paid close attention to the important production details that range from an understanding label regulations to managing and communicating with vendors to ensure quality standards.

“We want to make it easy for people to go plant-based and dairy-free with better packaging, more enticing flavors and the exploratory aspect of it.”

– Califia Farms CEO, and Odwalla co-founder, Greg Steltenpohl

Extending Product Lines Across the Globe

In less than a decade, Califia Farms has become a global brand, expanding to international territories such as Canada, UK and Australia. As part of our work, we assisted in crafting global market-specific packaging and worked with regional regulatory teams to ensure the brand messaging and and packaging parameters align with the consumer preferences.

Real Results & Continuous Global Growth

With over 100 product SKUs and more than a dozen product line extensions, Farm continues to guide Califia Farms with its domestic and international growth.

Results of Farm & Califia Partnership