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Exotic fruit and vegetables, industrially designed!
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Exotic fruit and vegetables, industrially designed!

Yexpert Stories: Innovation Manager Shen Liu

We are proud of all our Yexperts! That is why we would like to tell you exactly what they do in our series "Yexpert Stories". We kick off with our Shen Liu, Innovation Manager. He likes to talk about his work:

I understand that when it comes to industrial design, you tend to think of the design of your smartphone, your espresso machine or your car. But industrial design also involves designing everyday products. A box for packing fruit and vegetables, for example. And because at Yex we believe that this box doesn’t need to be an everyday item at all, I started working there five years ago after graduating from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).

By the way, designing boxes and other packaging is only part of my job. As an industrial designer at Yex, I also help find solutions for our services or our presentation at trade fairs. That's why it doesn’t say 'industrial designer' on my CV or LinkedIn profile. At Yex, I am an official 'innovation manager'. It is a better indication of the breadth of my work.

But it’s still remarkable that a company like Yex would employ someone with a degree in industrial design. And that too, is typical of Yex: recognising what the added value of having your own designer at home can be. It was also the reason that I stayed on after my internship: beautiful products, nice colleagues and, above all, inspiring assignments.

After all, there is a lot to do about packaging, as part of the pursuit of sustainability. Consumers are adamant about this: they want less unnecessary packaging and are increasingly critical of plastic. Of course, Yex could browse the packaging market and make a choice from all the sustainable standard packaging that is being developed worldwide. (And that’s quite a lot by now!)
But Yex also sees the added value of its own design. After all, shouldn't a distinctive product like exotic fruit and vegetables also have distinctive packaging? We believe it should.

As an industrial designer, you sometimes find yourself in a dilemma. It's tempting to go all out on amazing packaging. But regardless of how creative a box design is, we first assess its environmental impact. And we're ambitious at Yex. We want to finish our mission to ensure everything is packaged sustainably by 2025 at the latest. And even earlier, by next year, black plastic should be a thing of the past. It is difficult to recycle, but it is still used too often. This year, we will come up with two very distinctive packaging designs that will serve as a model for our vision in this field.

We think it's possible to make a difference with eye-catching packaging that is sustainable and fulfills its primary functions: protecting the product during transport, extending its shelf life, providing consumers with information and, last but not least – our own 'branding'. And that specific packaging is exactly what you won't find on the immense world market for packaging. Maybe that's all a bit ambitious for a small brand like us. But what we're good at at Yex is thinking 'big'. So the next time you see our packaging, you'll know how much thought and creativity has gone into it!

Shen Liu
Innovation manager
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