Slam #1: *Commercial* Food Packaging

:slight_smile:

lol - thanx - i dont know whether i’m going the edible covering or the pez-dispenser way, yet - but if i start infringing on ur design, u can hit me over the head with a baguette :blush:

I have been working on some sketches of very plain reusable, multifunctional packaging which I will post when I have time to scan, but here are some things that came up in my mind in the meantime:

*People only keep packaging if it is EXTREMELY useful or beautiful, or both.

*I mean EXTREMELY. They’ll BUY something based on how pretty the packaging is, but it occurs to very few people (besides my roommate, who keeps stuff like rice and popcorn in her beloved Pom bottles) to keep the packaging they loved so much. There is a huge gulf in the average consumer’s mind between the packaging their food comes in and the packaging they store stuff in.

*Therefore. The packaging in question has got to be extraordinarily versatile. It also has to be easily “brandable”/label-able, but that label must be easy to remove. Each package also must include information about reuse and emphasis that it’s just as useful as something you might buy. (“Dishwasher safe! Microwave safe!”) Basically the package has to scream “KEEP ME! I’M JUST AS GOOD AS TUPPERWARE” and people have got to hear it lots and lots and lots of times before it sinks in.

The containers should be easy to label, and recognizable in the store as a particular brand, but they should also look simple and non-commercial in one’s own home. Maybe the label takes the form of a cardboard sleeve, as in the margarine tub example, which can just be slipped off and recycled (and of course, on the back of the sleeve, there’s a coupon for your next purchase and instructions about reusing the container). Or maybe it’s printed with washable ink (though this could be troublesome for transport and storage). Or maybe it’s shrinkwrapped with some of that lovely “edible” polymer which you can toss and compost.

Final thought: I am either not thinking broad enough (maybe the food packaging doesn’t get reused as food packaging, after all: maybe it becomes a modular bookshelf for cds or books; maybe it can be used as a building material; maybe each package comes with an instruction kit for turning it into a beautiful cheap light, etc. I think the garden chair project has made the point that DIY is taking over the world, so maybe reusing food packaging as food packaging is not taking a broad enough tack…)
OR
I am being way too broad and need to narrow it down to a particular food item/packaging that annoys me.

Okay…so I go to the store and as I walk down the aisle something bright catches my eye! I can’t quite tell exactly what it is, but I know I’m in the _________ section. wow! It’s just a container for _____. Initially, I thought it was a piece of art. Later, I buy it, take it home, and after consuming the contents I see that it actually morphs into a picture frame or a sconce (minus the hardware), but still cool enough to want to actually go to Home Depot and get what I need to make it a sconce for my kid, because there’s instruction inside that tell me exactly what I need…blahblahblahblah.

You get the point. I think your on to something very FUN!!! And when FUN and Design get together it’s nothing but MAGIC! :wink:

i like your idea :smiley: … i buy cereal for the toys inside :blush: so it would be cool if a cereal box could metamorphosize into a toy when ur done with it :smiley:
ur building material idea made me think of margarine tubs (again) - the rectangular ones could be used as moulds for making mud bricks - not that people who make mud-bricks, eat margarine… but just a thought :wink:

not sure you got hint in my previous post. i’m reluctant to get involved. but your topic morphed. that hint may or may not be of interest. but so you know, there is technology being developed to turn food storage into high-tech stuff. sensors detect spoiled or rotten food. communicate w container color shift. or container change alerts another device. the refrigerator. something in the cupboard. this alerts consumer.

couple days ago i bought cider. date says good til Feb 10. yesterday the container was fit to burst. it was fermenting early. probly on the store shelf. now if…

Yes, all that stuff is fascinating…I guess for me the question is how to tie it in with the whole sustainability issue. A package can be really smart and poeple will still throw it away if they can.
Or are you suggesting that eco friendliness is just a function of it being a little more efficient? (Not necessarily less waste of packaging…but less waste of product, transport, etc.)
have to think on this.

And, since you asked…some (sorta outdated now) sketches since I finally got my scanner hooked up again. These really relate to an earlier post…but I plan to get some more work up here soon.

Yes, all that stuff is fascinating…I guess for me the question is how to tie it in with the whole sustainability issue. A package can be really smart and poeple will still throw it away if they can.
Or are you suggesting that eco friendliness is just a function if it being a little more efficient?

your comments so far:

“Whether this be a particular innovation in reusable packaging or a way to make buying stuff in bulk more attractive and accessible”

“People only keep packaging if it is EXTREMELY useful or beautiful, or both.”

“There is a huge gulf in the average consumer’s mind between the packaging their food comes in and the packaging they store stuff in.”

again. your focus morphed from my original hint. this may or may not be useful. but commercial package that can sense spoiled food same way your nose might matches comments above.

1 - its very innovative. and makes buying in bulk less risky (so you dont buy alot of bad food.maybe)

2 - a package that alerts people to bad food is “EXTREMELY” useful. about as good as it gets imo.

3 - it bridges gulf between packaging and home storage. package now has a real purpose. a valuable one. certainly something consumer might consider saving.

“I guess for me the question is how to tie it in with the whole sustainability issue.”

good question. turning commercial issues into consumer issues is inherently more difficult. consumer device is easier to address in this comp than commercial item. might consider different business models. that label you want to remove has value. might not discard it so quickly. or might focus on particular kind of product/package/delivery system. or consider what else a food quality detector could do.

The idea is a “Green Industry Standard” for commercial food packaging: a standardized system of durable plastic packaging. Manufacturers would be encouraged to join the Green Industry Standard Association and certify that their packaging fits the rigorous standards.
It would minimize unnecessary variations among packaging, but allow & encourage companies to ‘brand’ their packaging with innovations that will make consumers want to keep and reuse the packaging–anything from color-changing sensor tabs that tell the consumer when food has gone bad, to nifty gadgets like pour spouts or measuring-cup markings. The basic system is a series of rectangular containers of various sizes. They all use the same lid and can be stacked, stored and displayed very efficiently. Ultimately, this Standard would serve several purposes: making it easier and more appealing for consumers to keep and resuse, rather than throw away, their food packaging. Because of the efficient shape, if enough companies adopted the Standard, there would be less energy, space and time wasted for shipping and storing products. If marketed properly, it would also become a badge of honor for manufacturers (it would show that they care about the environment AND have high standards for quality control).

images following…

Did not tackle everything I had hoped to with this project…It’s a good start but I have raised more questions for myself than I think I answered! Thanks all for the interesting discussion.