Katu Honey, Laura Macaulay and Value Added in Africa

My original goal for Outstanding By Design on 10th May was to feature case studies of great Irish food visual design and packaging. It made sense given the strength of the work done here in Ireland.  For that reason I omitted a number of really strong food brands whose work was done by UK based agencies.

And then Laura emailed me with details of the work done by Value-Added in Africa, a not-for-profit based in Dublin and which works with charities in Uganda. I’d recently met with Michael Carey and the memory of his sharing of the work of a couple of charities he is associated with (Soul of Haiti and Traidlinks) was still vivid.

So here is a case study combining the work of an Irish Designer and a Ugandan product. In the words of Laura herself.

What was the goal of the piece of work?

In October 2013 Value-Added in Africa (VAA) contacted me to ask if I would be interested in helping them to rebrand a honey product for an African charity called Ka tutandike, based in Uganda. They had existing packaging, which they had been using for the past year in local markets, but had received feedback that it wasn’t visually appealing or engaging enough for consumers. They wanted to bring the product to the EU market and recognized the need for new packaging.



The design brief was to create an eye-catching and contemporary design. It needed to effectively capture the imagination of the consumer and convey the brand values of this unique social enterprise.

Ka tutandike do amazing work in Kampala, Uganda, helping to empower women and youths with disabilities by teaching them the skills to produce their own honey. This allows them to earn a much needed income in a safe and secure environment. The proceeds from the honey is then fed back into Ka tutandike’s community projects.

Most Ugandans have forest space around their homes and the Ugandan women involved in the programme have their traditional beehives in trees behind their homes. One woman hangs her hive on her coffee tree in her back garden! We loved this intimacy and wanted to draw on this concept for the design.


It was also important that the product would work both regionally and in the EU market so the design needed to strike a balance across the cultures.

As part of the process VAA conducted a packaging design feedback survey with targeted questions to help find out what’s important to today’s consumer. This generated 270 survey responses and helped to inform the final design choice.


There were two flavour variants of honey – dark and light Amber which are sold in 300g and 500g jars. We helped to differentiate the two flavours through colour coding on the tamper proof seal. With the help of copywriters we were able to bring the brand story to life. The labels and jars are printed and sourced in Africa.

What is the element of your work in the project which you are most proud of?

This was a great meeting of minds and experiences from the client, packaging design co-coordinator, copywriters and designer. Everyone really put their heart into this project. By improving Katu’s packaging design I am very proud to have helped this great product get the recognition it deserves.


What was the most difficult compromise?

Budgets and sourcing considerations meant that the original jar was made from plastic with the standard bright yellow lid. In the short term we have suggested changing the colour of the lid to custom green lid so it will feel more natural and organic. Ka tutandike are working towards hopefully changing to a better quality glass jar in the future, which will be better for the environment too! There were also some cultural differences when it came to the copy. Certain text that would resonate well here would not resonate well there and vice versa; therefore, creating copy that would be attractive in both locales was a difficult task.

Thanks to Laura for the above and really looking forward to hearing from her on the day. More information on Outstanding By Design including full line up and a link to booking here.