As I wrote in my previous article the modern consumer tends to cook a “composite dinner” along the contemporary way of “throwing” together prepared or semi-cooked pre-packaged items. From this phenomenon came the “semi-homemade” cooking concept, consisting of pre-packaged simmer sauces and soups with pre-cut, pre-washed vegetables and pre-skinned, boned and portioned meat, poultry and fish. That leaves the modern “amateur-chef” with only spicing his dishes according to his own personal taste.
That brings us from olive oil, which we saw in the previous article, to the packaging of herbs and condiments. I selected some packages which all have the important extra feature of easy dispensing and convenient handling. Furthermore they often are an eye-catcher on the kitchen table.
To celebrate the launch of the Spoonkler (more about this one in a minute), Bart Ingredients Company thought up four different typologies for the ‘amateur-chef’. As they will influence your purchasing behaviour when looking for condiments I relate them here.
The Spoonkler: The classic Spoonkler loosely bases the creation of their dishes around a recipe and varies their approach to ingredients depending on number of factors, ranging from mood, to taste and the cooking occasion. A ‘Spoonkler’ will mainly use a teaspoon for their recipe, plunging a teaspoon directly into the jar.
The Pincher: The Pincher likes to add a dash or pinch of ingredients and test by taste rather than following a cookery book. You taste your cooking as you go along to make sure it contains the right blend of ingredients to suit your taste buds.
The Measurer: He like to live by accuracy and love sticking to the cookery book measurements. A ‘measurer’ will always use a teaspoon to measure accurately whilst cooking, taking advantage of a wide necked jar.
The Pukka Chucker: The Pukka Chucker experiments and hardly ever follows recipes. His cooking includes a random mix of herbs and spices and follows the mantra of ‘chucking it in and hoping for the best’.
Whoever the consumer represents, he needs an innovative packaging for distributing his herbs and spices.
For the first one we go to Australia, where the “Flip ‘n Pour” received a 2013 Cormack Innovation Award.
Flip ‘n Pour
Whether the ‘amateur-chef’ wants an accurate measuring or a free sprinkling, the commonly used plastic or glass jars for spices and herbs (besides the refill pouches), aren’t seen as an acceptable way of adding condiments to a meal.
This Australian designed flip closure can be operated with one hand, as both lids are opened with the same digit and require minimal movement of the hand. The transparent lid with markings allows user to use it as a measuring cup.
The packaging has an in-built measuring system and features several pouring options.
To use the cap the consumer simply flips the transparent cap and tilts the container until the cap has the desired quantity of herbs. Once filled the packaging is tilted back to stop the flow and with one extra gesture the second lid slides open, thus allowing the herbs to fall onto the meal.
Alternatively the second lid can be kept open for pouring the herbs freely or the first lid kept close before opening the second to better control the flow.
The sliding lid effectively seals the measuring cup of the container, allowing the consumer to even use the cup to store a measured quantity of herbs.
We have seen a similar, more elegantly, one from Germany, where in 2011 Wiberg introduced its Spice Box.
The Wiberg Spice Box
Wiberg, a 60-year old German trading company specialised in high-quality herbs and condiments, introduced the spice box, combining functionality with exclusive design. Designed by Leon Widdison Design in Laufen/Germany, the herbs are protected from light in this high-quality looking, pale metal tin. The special feature however is the functional lid made of plastic and manufactured by G. Junghans Kunststoffwaren-Fabrik. The chute can be flipped up with a click, the sprinkler opening appears and the herbs can be distributed without need of any other object such as a spoon or spatula. The design and functionality for the end-user combine perfectly with the level of convenience.
And then now the Spoonkler from which I took the characterisations of the ‘amateur-chefs’.
As Bart Ingredients Company’s consumer research found that customers considered the awkward shape of most spice jars a hindrance to their particular cooking styles, the company decided to redesign its packaging.
The resulting closure design, called the ‘Spoonkler’ and said to be an industry first, features a flip top cap that can be opened in two ways, either to reveal a collection of small holes through which the product can be sprinkled, or a full opening wide enough to fit a teaspoon.
A particular challenge of the design was the opposing side hinges, which had to enable the closure to be opened in either spoon or sprinkle mode.
The Spoonkler is injection moulded in black polypropylene by RPC Halstead. It features a gloss surface finish to maximise on-shelf appeal.
But we don’t always have dry herbs and spices to dispense. Sometimes we are confronted with liquids for example when we want to marinade our meat, fish or poultry. That often is making the kitchen a bit messy.
French Flavor Infuser
We all know the panorama. Supermarket shelves crowded with pots, jars and bottles with dressing, sauces and condiments. But their functionality doesn’t satisfy the consumer when considering spicing up his meat, fish or poultry. The messy outcome always frustrates him.
Reckitt-Benckiser gave the right answer and launched a one-shot packaging that injects marinade directly into the meat. The Flavor Infuser packaging is a laminated tube and features a spike closure visible through the clear overcap. The packaging is supplied by Berry Plastics.
The design fulfils the consumer demand for easy use and mess-free and the company’s requirement of shelf presence.
The Infuser imitates the technique professional chefs often use. With no mixing, pouring or plastic bags that can leak, French’s Flavor Infusers are a fast, no-mess alternative to traditional marinades. Directions are simple: snap the cap, inject the infuser tip and squeeze into the protein. This should be repeated in several areas to distribute the marinade evenly. Any remaining marinade should be poured over the protein, which should stand for 10 minutes before cooking.
It is said that the French’s Flavor Infusers also offer a more powerful flavour since the marinade, as by injecting the marinade deep into the protein, the flavour is quickly delivered and evenly distributed to all layers. There is enough marinade for 3-4 lbs. of protein.
Now that we have fitted out our kitchen with some useful packaging, we can move on to other packaging innovations.