A World Tour in Take-Out Packaging

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A national survey carried out in the UK by Alpro shows that time-pressed workers now often have no choice but to eat many of their meals at their desk. Indeed, in the workplace, eating alone has “become so pervasive that many of us don’t realize we’re doing it anymore, underscoring what a ubiquitous behaviour solitary eating is”, concludes market research company Hartman Group.

Although a large part of this group of office workers is brown-bagging their breakfast and/or lunch, the other part chooses to visit a delicatessen-shop, supermarket  or convenience store to make a choice of freshly prepared items for breakfast or lunch. Of course in this case, often, health items are predominant. But also convenience in packaging terms speaks an important role.

130134-McDonald_s_Premium_McWrap 320x371 100dpiAlthough the prepared salads market is moving away from its established place as a side dishe to also perform as a small meal in itself, this trend hasn’t changed the old habit of many consumers to go for the old-fashioned ham or cheese burger, the hot dog and the like.
In this market nothing has changed much, only we have shied away from the fish-and-chips wrapped in old newspapers and the Chinese food scooped into unappealing plastic trays.

A wide range of convenient packaging formats have entered the take-out market, particularly for lighter lunch and on-the-go options. The concepts are often not only adequate for storing and transporting, but might well have been a beautiful shape, free of all excess and extravagance.
The intriguing nature of these packages is their functionality and their beauty in simplicity.

Recently we have seen some interesting ideas and concepts. Let’s make a world tour. We start in the USA to admire a fine hamburger packaging, we travel to Guatemala for a hot-dog packaging and Brazil for the Agile Pack for fast food. From Brazil we cross the ocean to end up in Spain for a take-out packaging for tapas and continue to Sweden for a self-expanding instant food package. We fly over the North Pole to Taiwan for our last take-out packaging for fish pastries. That will be it. Let’s start.

USA – the Togo Burger packaging
The “Togo Burger”, designed by Seulbi Kim at the Rhode Island School of Design in the USA, allows the consumer to transport a burger, fries and drink comfortably in one hand.
130540-Togo Burger03 W540 100dpiThe carrier will halve the volume of existing packages due to Kim’s simplified design. Only a hook, a sleeve and a hole is all that are required to keep the French fries, burger and soda drink respectively in place.
Along with the internal mechanisms that keep the contents in place, the packaging features handles that double up as both a carrier and a locking device to keep everything safe. Beside the soda drink, there is also a hole for the straw to go in.

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We stay in the junk food sector and go to Guatemala where, bought from the street vendor,  the hot-dog is a popular snack.

Guatemala – the Shuco hotdog packaging
As is with so many packaging concepts only a few or none details are known. This Shuco is one of them. I know the designer is Ana Gabriela Castañeda Solano in Guatemala City, Guatemala, but that’s all I could find about her and this packaging.
But look at the images and you must agree with me that it is an interesting design and not only for hot-dogs.

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From Guatemala we go to Brazil, where the people are used to consume some 5 (small) meals per day, often not more than a hot snack bought from a street vendor.

Brazil – Agile Pack
Fabio Pereira da Silva, director of Una Design in Bento Gonçalves came up with a product idea to provide fast-food companies with a packaging, where the food and soft drinks served become more practical and adapted to the daily lives of the modern users.
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The product intends to unify in a single pack a cup of soft drink and a container for food, such as chips, pastas or salads. This way, the packaging becomes practical and the user can ingest his meal on the subway, bus or while walking. As the packaging is handled with just one hand, the other can be used to enjoy the meal, without the need of any other support.

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Spain – TOT tapas
Gloria Kelly from Santiago in Chile and student at the Elisava, Barcelona/ Spain created a Take-Away Packaging for “Organic Tapas”.

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The “Tapas” are, as we all know, part of the identity and food culture of Spain. “Tapas” are small appetizers of different kinds of food that people share with friends drinking something in a bar or in a restaurant. The aim of this project was to create a new concept, offering “Tapas” in a take-away formula, so that people can eat them wherever they want, in a park, at the beach, with friends and whenever they feel like. The packaging is made with cardboard and communicates the identity of the brand.

Sweden – the expanding bowl
Innventia, a Swedish research firm, teamed up with designers Anna Glansén and Hanna Billqvist from design agency Tomorrow Machine to develop, what they call, the expanding bowl, a sustainable package customised for freeze-dried food.
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The expanding bowl is made out of a 100% biobased and biodegradable material (special carton), invented by Innventia.
When pouring hot water into the package the mechano-active material will react to the heat and transform from a compressed packaging to a serving bowl.
The designers claim that this is the new generation of sustainable package design, using materials that are both smart and environmentally friendly.

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Taiwan – Tzukuan Seafood Pastry
Bosin design in Kaohsiung, Taiwan designed a packaging based on the traditional concept of wrapping dried fish, this seafood package of cookies, for the Tzukuan Fisheries Association, exemplifies the image of fishing culture.

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Taiwanese fishing culture inspired the packaging design of these seafood pastries. Each box shows a fish, with different flavours marked by different colours. With a string, two or three packages can be packed together as a gift set. This recalls the traditional way fishermen packed their dry fish to share with friends and family in ancient times. In this way, they shared not only the fish but also their happiness – an idea that the packaging promotes in a symbolic way.

130540-JO sushi03 320x251 100dpiTake-out packaging often was born out of necessity meant to preserve food and make it easily portable, made of whatever material was at hand. Think in terms of old news papers and simple plastic trays. But times have changed and having a captivating and exceptional package design will make it a major competitive edge even in the take-out sector. How items 130540-JO sushi02 320x255 100dpiare wrapped and presented and the packaging is constructed are just a few elements that designers need to pay attention to, to come up with an effective take-out packaging which can impress the consumers through it creativity.

In the past I wrote 2 more articles about take-out or take-away packaging. Read them for more insight:
“Packaging Innovations – Lunching and Snacking in November” and “Innovations in Food Take-Out Packaging”.

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