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A Brief Journey Through the Many Faces of England’s Fanciest Salt

The new-look Maldon sea salt box goes big on sunny European green geometric tiles — but it hasn’t always been this way

Maldon salt is having a makeover. The new look — which features green diamonds — was designed to “respect our rich history and embrace the future of our family business,” the Essex-based company says
Maldon salt is having a makeover
Maldon/Facebook

The fine “finishing” salt favoured by a significant number of London’s chefs has undergone a very fancy rebrand.

Presumably by accident, the new-look Maldon salt packaging goes big on geometrics, tiling diamonds across its boxy white silhouette in different shades of green. In a photoshoot, the box is styled against a textured pastel pink wall, which borrows heavily from European holidays. It is southeastern Spain, a Greek island, southwestern Italy. The places, lest anyone forget, that Brits are prohibited from visiting for their holidays this summer.

In many ways then the branding is the perfect fit for the post-Brexit pandemic era.

It’s the boldest look yet for the the Essex-based sea salt brand, which originally paired a light green gingham with a lettuce and tomato trim, before moving into uncluttered clean lines green-on-white, then a design which featured graphic lines mimicking the sea. And, most recently, the brand elected a more rustic, off-white box whose central logo was flanked by small illustrated salt crystals.

“The striking new look and feel will ensure we stand out on shelf, inspire new audiences and retain pride of place on dining tables across the globe,” reckons managing director Steve Osborne. “Our new packaging was designed to respect our rich history and embrace the future of our family business.”

The brand’s strapline has evolved with its look-and-feel:

From: “Maldon Sea Salt
“Pure flaky crystals”
The Olney / Grigson era

To: “sea salt flakes
“pure & natural”
The Gary Rhodes era

To: “Pure flaky crystals
“the chef’s natural choice”
The Jamie Oliver era

To: “The original
“Seasoning with substance
“Loved by chefs the world over”
The Ferran Adrià era

Then: “The original
“100% natural handcrafted”
The Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall era

Now, in 2021, the brand has entered the snappy age of the hashtag with the call-to-action: “Seize the Seasoning.”
The Waitrose herbs aisle era

The brown boxes that formerly housed the brand’s smoked salt have been swapped for a bold orange, while Maldon peppercorns are given a black and grey palette.

There is, naturally, an attempt to burnish its environmental credentials as well. “We are proud to announce that with every box produced we will be supporting the World Land Trust and the fantastic work they do to protect threatened habitats and wildlife,” Maldon says. “All of our cardboard boxes are being made using carbon balanced carton.”

Maldon/Facebook

While the salt is certainly excellent, it has become a lifestyle. There is also an irony in its success: Professional chefs use it to finish dishes — favouring its delicacy and almost-sweetness. But if it were to be used by the home cook in the same way, there’s very little chance it’d have the cash reserves to afford this kind of rebrand. Or indeed any of its number of rebrands over the past couple of decades.

A final note on the evolution of Maldon. It is promoting a new range of formats — bigger tubs, as well as the staple boxes. And, for the collectors, the homesick traveller, or the lunch weirdo, there’s even now a 1g sachet baggie.

Salty.

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