Packaging Innovation From Australia – 02

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As promised in my previous article about the Australian Cormack Innovation Awards 2014 I selected three more creative designs. Are they perfect? No, they are not, and certainly subject to improvement. But they are great initiatives, or with the words of Bill Gates: “If you don’t practice the change management that looks after the future, the future will not look after you”.

Chia Seed Spout
The designer of this entry took chia seeds as the product to be packaged. What is Chia?
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. It is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala and was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times.

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Existing Chia packages in the Australian market

Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-coloured with brown, grey, black and white. The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked. While soaking, the seeds develop a mucilaginous gel-like coating that gives chia-based beverages a distinctive texture.

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150135-Chia Seed Spout05 W320 100dpiWith Australia being the world’s largest (in 2008) producer of chia, it’s not surprising that the seed has been chosen for a packaging redesign. The actual market packages chia seeds in stand-up pouches, paperboard boxes and plastic jars.

The designer thought that the design could be much improved, when the packaging could be manipulated single-handedly, quick and easy to pour, should automatically close after pouring and could be made from recyclable plastics. Furthermore the designer wanted a reusable packaging, say for salt or herbs, after the chia was entirely consumed.

150135-Chia Seed Spout03-W320 100dpiUnfortunately the designer didn’t include a measuring device. In other words the consumer twists the notch with his thumb to open the pouring cap. Then he inverts the packaging and pours the contents. As there is no measuring device the consumer can pour much more than he likes to and can’t get it back into the bottle.
Ok, releasing the thumb closes the pouring cap automatically, as the flexing of the plastic “spring” will close the opening once released. This is a fast and simple handling, but still I’m not satisfied that the consumer doesn’t have any control over the quantity he pours.

Nice design, but up for improvement.

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No-Touch Pet Food
In my previous article we have seen a new design for dry pet food. Here we have the design for wet pet food.

Australian grocery store shelf with wet dog food tins

Australian grocery store shelf with wet dog food tins

Pet food in the actual market is packaged mainly in metal (steel) tins. This packaging format and the lack of creativity transform the supermarket shelves in a dull panorama. Similar packaging formats, similar colours and printing and an identical ritual needed to use this product aren’t engaging the consumer to buy or change his mind when he is used to purchase a certain brand. It’s not the product or the brand that defines his decision but his laziness to search the, although colourful, but dull and unattractive aisle.

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Furthermore the metal tin isn’t the perfect packaging format for wet pet food, when it isn’t a single-serve, but a multiple-serve tin. Serving a portion is a bit of a messy exercise and storing wet pet food after the tin has been opened is a general problem.

The designer looked at these shortcomings and designed a solution with portion control, resealability without using plastic film or alu-foil and took care that the pet could be served without the need of utensils, guaranteeing a no-mess serving.

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I’m not quite sure I understand the working of the device correctly. The text, written by the designer in the pdf, is (for me) a bit incomprehensible.
I think it works as follows: The tamper-evident container mouth (inner) seal sits under the knife to be removed. The consumer must unclasp the knife from the tracks and remove the tamper-evident seal, then reconnect the knife and rotate the bottom dial.
And the following I don’t understand. The text says: “TEP breakable plastic seal will break and the product is ready to use”. But the tamper-evident seal has already been removed and the knife refitted.
After dispensing a portion the plastic lid can be placed on top to seal and store in the fridge.

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Parts 4-7 are made from PP. Due to the use of a left-hand thread there is a lot of force put on the outer shell and shaft. These parts must be strong to withstand these forces. (Note: I don’t see why “a lot of force” is put on the outer shell. The screw is a pure vertical movement and pet food isn’t a fluid/liquid, so that neither the laws of Pascal nor of Newton are in action here).
As pet food is hot-filled, the choice of PP as material for the body is a good one.

Parts 1, 8 and 3 are made from PETE. This plastic is appropriate to form the lid and knife of the pet food dispenser. The lid and the knife are both able to be easily detached from the body of the dispenser.

Karinourish Travelo
One of the hot items in packaging is consumer convenience in the on-the-go packaging. On-the-go, or out-and-about, as the Aussies are saying, is worldwide a fast growing market segment, which spreads wider and wider from ready-to-eat meals and lunch snacks into convenience packaging for outdoor activities.

Australian supermarket aisle with baby formula packaging

Australian supermarket aisle with baby formula packaging

150135-Karinourish Travelo03 W320 100dpiThe designer of this entry took a closer look at the convenience to feed our babies and toddlers with a milk powder baby formula when we are at home as well as on-the-go. Over the last few years we have seen interesting innovations in packaging for this type of product. (Read among others my article: “Self-Heating Packaging For Baby Formula”). However all of them maintained the “wrestling” of the parents/care takers with a box or tin of powder, a measurement spoon, a baby bottle and a nipple. All in a continuous situation, according to the designer, of high risk of contamination and a lack of convenience.

Infant formula packaging usually consists of a cylindrical (metal) container with a separate measuring spoon for one serving. The large opening, when the lid of the tin is removed, heightens the potential contamination of the formula. Contamination might come from the multi-used measuring spoon, a finger of the parent accidentally put into the tin or any other circumstantial interference with the container.

150135-Karinourish Travelo02 W320 100dpiFurthermore the actual packaging format makes it difficult to prepare the formula whilst holding a baby.

The new design aims to reduce the contamination factor of the current design as well as making the process of preparing formula milk quicker and mess free. The shape is designed to allow the user to obtain a comfortable grasp of the packaging and proceed to dispense the formula with one hand when necessary. The sliding mechanism easily dispenses one serving. The design guarantees a more travel friendly packaging.
All components are manufactured from plastic so that the various parts of the packaging can easily be separated and recycled at the end of its lifecycle.

It’s obvious that the unique shape of the packaging takes care of a distinctive standout from the traditional infant formula packaging on the supermarket shelves.

This is the end of my selection of the winners. For all winners in the Cormack Innovation Awards 2014 click here (all docs as pdf).

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