Real Meals

A brand that is real

Real Meals – Brand workshops | Consumer research | Brand research | Competitive Analysis | Positioning | Brand Strategy | Brand design | Packaging design | Website design and build | Advertising | Social Media



Real Meals (formerly Absolute Wilderness) was a small freeze-dried food manufacturer who had been operating for a number of years in the outdoors space. Nathan Faʻavae (6 time World Adventure Race guru) had bought in to the company on his search to find meals that could sustain him and his teams on their epic adventures.

With a bit of a cult, semi-underground following they had a great reputation, but the company lacked some effort behind it to make it a proper business and take it to the next level. This is where Re:brand came in.

Nathan and his co-owners suspected the brand needed a refresh and were open to whatever changes needed to occur – including changing the name.

The brand was affectionally known as the one that’s packaging “looks like it’s been run over in the car!” due to it’s vacuum-packed nature to save weight, space in your pack and maintain freshness.

Brand Research

We undertook a variety of brand research. A director workshop outlined the detailed plans they now had to move the company forward in a serious manner and the markets where this would occur, being Tramper, hikers, hunters and a bit of adventure racers.

We assessed the competition to understand what brand positioning each was owning and how they shaped their verbal and visual language. This was mapped out and avenues in to the market were explored.

An extensive depth-interview series was conducted with both consumers and distributors to dig into their needs from this category and how they perceived Absolute Wilderness and the competition. These insights, as always, helped shape the strategy of the rebrand.


This evidence was boiled down to a single minded strategy – that their meals were made by a real chef; they were made as you would at home (just in larger sizes); and that they were made as a single meal and then freeze-dried (not assembled from bought bits like the competitors). The result were they were ‘real meals’.

This positioning aligned strongly to customer desire (identified in market research) and to also differentiated from competitors in the market.

We then assessed if the existing name, Absolute Wilderness, was then a good vehicle for this new brand positioning – which it wasn’t.


Firstly, a new brand name – Real Meals. This was the clear winner from a few rounds of names that could compete with it. The clear, single-minded nature of it with a customer benefit fit up front was a huge advantage.

From there the packaging had to change. A new bagging system was explored to allow air-filled bags. This allowed product to present beautifully on-shelf and make it legible (which was a change!). The range was beautifully colour coded and simple design ideas were used to elevate the product appearance and make it easy and enjoyable to use.

“We absolutely love our new name and brand. The feedback from the market and retailers has all been fantastic so we’re over the moon. And this is translating into sales growth” – CEO, Nathan Fa’avae

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