Bonne Maman: A Semiotic Analysis



“A brand that captures your mind gains behaviour. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment”

(Talgo cited in Sengupta, 2005, p. 131)

 Bonne Maman is a popular French brand that is known for its all-natural jellies and preserves. The brand name Bonne Maman means “Grandmother” in French and adds to the brand’s nostalgic and traditional approach. They take pride in claiming that they are 100% natural and do not use any preservatives, additives or corn syrup in their products.

According to Roland Barthes, “ The relationship between a connotative signifier and a connotative signified can only be explained through reference to a larger social field, a social field which is structured in terms of class interests and values.”(Silverman, 1983, p. 29). Michel Guerard states that it is an important tradition in France for family and friends to eat together for the sake of pleasure (Santich, 2012). In this case, the brand name Bonne Maman which means ‘Grandmother’ mythically signifies limitless love, care and affection that exists within a family and triggers nostalgia. Moreover, grandmothers are fondly remembered for their great culinary skills which also signifies authenticity.

The gingham pattern signifies an affordable, traditional item found in grandmothers’ homes that appeared as jar cloths, picnic basket linings and table covers. It helps position Bonne Maman as an established, accessible and traditional brand. The choice of the chunky ribbed glass jar selected for packaging the jellies and preserves, signifies that it does not come from a highly sophisticated and luxurious background. It signifies comfort by suggesting that it originates from the humble kitchen of a grandmother’s home.

The simple black and white label uses a handwritten script font to add a personal touch. The label design adds to the value of the brand by signifying that the preserves have no added pereservatives and are natural. Moreover the connection with France signifies high standards of taste and culinary perfection. In “The Trend Management Toolkit’ by Kjaer it is stated the 63% of consumer purchases are driven by meanings and values associated with the brand (Kjaer, 2004). Bonne Maman uses package design to signify authenticity and culinary pleasure while successfully evoking nostalgia.

 Kjaer, A.,(2014), The Trend Management Toolkit. Palgrave Macmillan.
Santich, B. (2012), Michel Guerard on French Cuisine’, Gastronomica, 12(3), pp. 78-80.
Silverman, K., (1983)The Subject of Semiotics, New York: Oxford University Press.



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