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The Next Generation of Osti

Country
Denmark
Business type
Product SME
Time
2012-present
Design
Sten Jauer, MDd MDS
Design support
LAND Designlab

Background

Osti began as the family-owned company Rollex ApS. Founder of Rollex, Nils Jagd Jensen, was the inventor of the first double-wired Osti cheese slicer in 1963. Since then millions of “Ostis” have been sold, and it is not unusual to find 25 year old cheese slicers in Danish kitchen drawers.

Nowadays Osti is led forward by the new generation, but still stands for great functionality, quality, design and price. In 2012 Osti teamed up with the Danish design company LAND Designlab and has since received eight design awards, the latest being the Red Dot Design Award in 2016.

How design helped

When Osti first approached the design company, LAND Designlab, they were in the middle of a succession. Osti was aware that a change was needed in order to build and maintain their status as market leaders, and the first task for LAND was to update the packaging for the classic double-wired cheese slicer, but during this project it quickly became obvious for Sten Jauer, designer from LAND, that the time had come to update the entire brand.

In collaboration with LAND Designlab and Sten Jauer, Osti developed a moderately redesigned version of their classic cheese-slicer, as well as the cheese plane Osti 01, now with a more conscientious use of resources and  updated innovative packaging. As a result of the new design collaboration, it became possible for Osti to relaunch their product line as design objects, instead of just “cheap kitchenware”.

 

Sten Jauer

Sten Jauer, designer from LAND Designlab holding the award-winning Osti 01 cheese plane

“The Osti 01's design combines functionality, resource awareness’ and kind aesthetics, and makes Osti 01 an optimal ambassador for the Osti brand - an ambassador which already is placed in one out of eight Danish kitchen drawers.”
Industrial Designer & Art Director, Sten Jauer, LAND Deisgnlab

When incorporating design in a market where price is the dominantly competitive factor, a whole new axis of competitive differentiation is created. A competitive tool that only has been enforced by the many design awards that the new products has received.

It was a bold move for the Osti 01 to pursue design awards, which have a history of being associated with pricey products. Despite  this fact, the move turned out to be a great strategic approach. The market and design award juries have accepted, understood and embraced the Osti 01, its resource awareness, functionality and aesthetics - at normal prices. The eight design awards have opened the door to new customer segments, in countries which have never seen Osti as more than a provider of good functionality. 
 

Markets such as Iceland and Great Britain, but also our design conscious neighbours in Sweden show great interest for the Osti 01, endorsed by especially the Red Dot Award and the iF gold awards as a seal of approval for great design and craftsmanship. The awards make it easier for us to start the dialogue with important dealers and distributors, which can have a big effect

Peter Hemmingsen
CEO, Rollex Aps (Osti)

The recognition received through the design awards has helped open the gates into new markets, and Osti is now sold in Iceland, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia with even more countries on the list of potential export markets. 
 

 

Outcome

Osti’s turnover has risen steadily since 2013. This is without doubt caused by the bigger and more attractive selection, and the products’ transformation from being regular kitchenware into great design products that consumers long for. The numbers from Osti’s accounts shows, and underlines, that investments in design pays off on the bottom line.

Design has proved itself as a great way for Osti to differentiate themselves from their competitors, in a market where price often is the strongest competitive tool. The design awards have raised awareness of Osti, and have opened the doors to new export markets.

The success does not mean that Osti are resting on their laurels. The collaboration between LAND Designlab and Osti is an ongoing partnership, with new markets being explored. Currently, Osti and LAND Designlab are working on breaking free from “the boundaries of cheese” and investigating if the Osti approach to functionality can be used to cut vegetables and cabbage, opening the doors towards a massive Asian customer segment.

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