All images by Akihiro Yoshida, courtesy of Nendo.

It’s no secret that the banana is one of the most perfectly packaged foods—its peel protects the fruit, shows you when its ripe and can be composted with zero waste. So when Japanese firm Nendo was commissioned to design packaging for the Shiawase banana, a luxury banana grown in a high altitude national park, their approach celebrated and complemented the work of the original designer—mother nature.

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UNIFRUTTI Japan, the Japanese arm of one of the world’s largest fruit distributors, commissioned Nendo to design packaging for the Shiawase banana, the first banana to be awarded 2 Stars at the International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi) Superior Taste Awards in Belgium. Grown on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines and sold exclusively in Japan, the organic banana takes its namesake from the Japanese word for happiness and, “the fact the fruit makes all banana growers happy,” the firm shares.

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The final solution is a double-layered fruit sticker applied to the surface of the banana peel and an accompanying carrying bag. “When we were asked to design the packaging,” the designers explained, “we didn’t want to just come up with something extravagant because of its high quality: that would be totally inappropriate for an environmentally friendly banana.”

The sticker mimics the texture, colors and feel of a banana peel with a section peeled back to encourage a delightful interaction from consumers. Peeling away the first layer of the sticker reveals a fruit-colored second sticker, overlayed with text explaining the story behind the Shiawase banana. A paper carrying bag with a string handle opens up to reveal a more in-depth story of the Shiawase banana printed on a banana leaf-shaped single sheet of paper.

This thoughtful and playful packaging design not only honors the beauty of the product itself, but celebrates the natural wonder of the production process.

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nendo-shiawase_banana-sketchSketch by Oki Sato, founder and principle of Nendo