Crisco Simple Measures - ridiculous!

The Crisco oil container posted by mastadon may be a good idea, fulfilling an obvious need, but how far do we go creating waste product in the name of consumer convenience and product advantage?

How many kitchens don’t have a measuring cup? Or is this design based on the idea that it takes too long in our busy, self interested lives, to walk over to the drawer and get the measuring cup out? Perhaps research showed that most people don’t own a measuring cup - but why give us one every time we buy oil? Surely the first one will last about 10,000 years? (And please don’t tell me it is recyclable - recycling something that is working fine is a waste). More likely to me, the marketing gurus were screaming for any possible advantage, after all cooking oil must be a tough market to differentiate in, but come on guys, couldn’t we think a little further ahead?

Sorry about the rant, but this sort of thing is really starting to get me down.


Why give us one everytime we buy a bottle of washing detergent? Because we never wash it and we don’t want to reuse it.

The cooling oil measuring cup, on one hand is a good idea, just goes to prove how disconnected people are with their traditions. When my mom cooks, she never really measured anything. Have you seen chiefs telling how many grams or ounces of oil to put on cooking shows? It’s almost like intuition when it comes to cooking oil. Even I know how much to pour.

The only thing I think is great is that it prevents over pouring of oil. This can be a problem when the bottle is still full, the weight makes it harder to tilt the bottle gently.

I’d think the squirt water bottle, like those for bicyclists, will be really appropriate. Just don’t squirt the oil into the flame.

it’s purely for differentiation, as mentioned earlier.

that idea was generated out of motivation from marketing. not better design.

a better designed container would be smaller so older people and people not as strong could actually lift it instead of that enourmouse size container

also, why didn’t they incorporate a measured pour, each time the thing is tipped, an exact ammount would come out-- in the spout, instead of a messy measuring cup. c’mon, a measuring cup is a lazy solution to this already contrived product.

marketing drives design. period.

i cook. dont consider this something i’d use. agree w measured pour. like in Fluoride rinse bottles. that makes sense. to me this doesnt. its a lid that you cant put on til it’s washed. and it’s huge. when included in recipes, oil is often measured by tablespoon. like many other ingrediants. should they ALL have huge measuring cups come w their container?

imo this appeals to people who buy Cracker Jacks for the toy.

I find this a bit like the measuring cup. Instead of using a real hand, they added a handle. I really don’t think it’s going to help cleaning.

Why when apple conspicously packages the ipod in a container far larger than it needs to be there are no vitriolic posts?

I understand the criticisms being leveled, but isn’t all design based on differentiation? Isn’t the “needless” decision best left to the individual? I have a couple OXO measuring cups and when I cook something complex they generally get dirty fast. having an extra one for oil may not be a huge help, but its not unwanted. Are there more useful innovations that could be implemented? at low cost?

My grandma could peel an apple with a knife and have the peel be one continuous piece. That shouldn’t preclude OXO from developing better peelers, or crisco from trying to innovate in however small a way with their lard. If we go down this path of only “nessecary” things being designed, we’ll have a hard time designing anything beyond sharpened sticks, buffalo hide tents, and loincloths.


That can be solved easily but will probably cost more.

On the other hand, why are we talking about a little plastic cup? Hasn’t it done it’s job already? Now we all know about THAT crisco cooking oil and we probably will check it out the next time we step into a grocery store. Then some of us may want to try one. Good or bad, it’s not going to hurt the company significantly. It’s like the blue pepsi. If it doesn’t work, just ditch it.

I know I will check it out soon, just to see if there is anything smarter about the cup than my expectation.

Must agree this is a dump idea in terms of practicallity. I do think it will work from a marketing position.

First of all that cup is going to get awefully greasy. I would have to wash it off (with soap otherwise still oily) to put it back on. This is much more hastle than getting out my measuring cup then tossing my M. cup into the dishwasher.

How often do you measure oil? I almost never do unless it asks for a spoon size. Measureing seems to be more required in baking things like cakes and breads… most people who are baking on that level and need a measureing cup own one.

This measuring cup only lets me use it with the oil. What about all the other thing I need to measure. I’m still going to have to own a measureing cup so why do I need this?

“On the other hand, why are we talking about a little plastic cup? Hasn’t it done it’s job already?”

which “job” is that?

if i owned an iPod i might complain. but i dont. even so, i’m not seeing much “vitriol” in this thread. suspect the reason people are talking about it is bc its endorsed on Core’s frontpage.

“Are there more useful innovations that could be implemented? at low cost?”

i’ve not seen this thing in person, but if it doesnt have a measuring reservoir (like in fluoride rinses), then that suggestion by “guest” is still a good one imo.

“Or is this design based on the idea that it takes too long in our busy, self interested lives, to walk over to the drawer and get the measuring cup out?”

this is a bit vitrolic

Agree with the original post-- this product is pure marketing differentiation, not design innovation. We often design in order to make user’s lives easier, but is that always the right decision? Why must everything in life be more convenient? Whats wrong with making users put forth effort in using products? What ever happened to the sense of accomplishment that is derived through cooking a traditional meal?

I place this ‘innovation’ in the same category as the ads for Reynolds-Wrap that want people to wrap their pans in aluminum foil, so they don’t have to wash dishes. Design for laziness is bullshit-- and as designers, we’ve got to combat it.

Maybe I didn’t describe this Simple Measures thing well enough in my post. From

_Crisco Simple Measures bottle features:

  • Measuring cup built right into the cap: Convenient measuring cup is always at your fingertips and features the most commonly used measurements (1 tablespoon, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup) to allow for adding just the right amount of Crisco to any recipe.
  • Clean-pour spout: Drip-free design means less mess and cleanup.
  • Drain-back: When cap is replaced, unused oil drains back into the bottle, not down the sides, so there’s no waste and no mess._

So for foods like brownies this could be cool because usually the only thing you need to measure is oil (if I remember how to make brownies correctly) and for foods like rice, use the built in cup instead of having to go wash out the measuring cup after pouring oil so the rice doesn’t stick when you measure that.

You can call it laziness I guess, but I consider this to be analogous to sticks of butter with those little measuring ticks on the side. Just something easy and simple that makes that product’s packaging a little smarter.

How often to do you make brownies from scratch?

I think it’s a good idea, especially if you do make brownies, cakes, etc, and then have to measure flour, etc after the oil.

'course, on the other hand, with all this posting and designing other unnecessary items, who has time to bake?

lighten up, y’all, i think all the low carb stuff is going to your heads

ever try and measure a tablespoon out of a cup? much less a cup that has the ability to hold 1/4 cup? 1/2 of that tablespoon will stick to the cup as you pour it out. So you will have to pour twice as much to get it right.

(Thats one of those little trick prefessional cooks and chefs learn at cooking school.)

and yes professionals do measure, especially the Pastiserries. Emeril and co on TV learn to estimate liquid volumes based on pouring time and speed

This is complete market differentiation by package design. Yes the cup fulfills a true want, need and desire but its fulfilled in a mediocre way. A “good design” would premeasure the tablespoon in a reservoir in the bottle, much the same way a bartender has the shot pourer screwed onto the top of the bottle. No cap to remove, No mess to clean up, an exact measure evry time and no mixing of ingredients. need a little more well then pour a little more.

BTW who did design the packaging, because I’ll give em props that they looked at laundry soap for inspiration.

(but then again when was the last time you accurately measured laundry soap out of the screw top, drip free, drainable cup? Come on I know you estimate…)

i thought it was clever. not inspirational, not earth shaking… but clever. yes it is taken from a laundry soap container and it is evolutionary instead of revolutionary but so what? recontextualization is a completely valid approach to designing a package.

a bottle needs a cap anyway so why not put it to work? if you don’t use it then at the very least it solves the issue of oil running down the outside of the bottle when you put the cap back on… i am constantly grabbing oil bottles and getting oil all over my hands.

where do you draw the line on being ‘lazy’. it would be interesting to discuss what the relationship between laziness and convenience is, as i don’t believe that there is necessarily a direct correspondence.

why is using a separate measuring cup ‘better’ than this solution?

someone who is cooking/baking for themself is already less ‘lazy’ than the person who just ordered a pizza and bought the cake already baked. (all of which i do on occasion).

for what it is worth the measured bartender style pour device would not work for me. when i make cake from scratch i use a lot of oil and pouring it out a tablespoon at a time would drive me up the wall.


Sustainibility, utility, and common sense.

A separate measuring cup can be reused thousands of times for millions of types of ingredients. This solution is only used for one ingredient, for the lifespan of the packaging.

This Crisco packaging illustrates the current trend of overcrowded kitchens-- ever wondered how people survived with the small kitchens built 65 years ago when they cooked more than modern-day Americans? Nowadays you can buy an appliance or kitchen tool for every single process in the kitchen, but does that really make sense? Maybe a simple measuring cup lid is not the end of the world, but it does point towards consumer excesses in the pursuit of pure convenience.

You use “a lot of oil” when baking a cake from scratch,… Well there is the reason why you are invited to dinner parties but no one requests you bring your home made cake…

Sustainibility is an excellent concern but has nothing to do with this object’s function. what if the cap was made from biodegradable corn starch plastic… perhaps the same corn they are using to make the oil. maybe the cap, when heated, BECOMES corn oil suitable for baking with… these are opportunities which mean the concept could use considerable refinement but doesn’t mean it is inherently flawed.

Utility… both cups measure. they are equal in terms of utility.

Common sense… just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean things should always be done that way. Designers eshew common sense every day… we are usually hired to do so… we are usually hired because not everyone is capable of looking past ‘common sense’… whatever ‘common sense’ really is.

Hey… i’m not trying to take a hard line here. i’m not saying this is the greatest design ever but i do feel that it was condescendingly dismissed as a ‘marketing exersize’ pretty quickly.