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Stoopid Food Packaging


Chris Amirault
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In the spirit of Fat Guy's manufacturers' directions topic, I offer the suggestion that food packaging designers can, also, be bitten by the dumbbug. Here's my first bit of evidence, courtesy of Kate's butter, which comes in little tubs. The lids don't stay on, the foil "cap" (or whatever it's called) is useless, and then there's the measurements.

DSC00215.JPG

Of course, that first tablespoon is impossible to pry out -- but, hey, at least it's volumetric and not metric, right?

Surely you've got some design-challenged food packaging gripes to share....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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My camera skills are, like, miniscule at best, so no photo, but a major gripe! :angry: Carnation instant breakfast, no sugar added, (I know, gack, right? But it's not horrible, it is quick and sugar free...) used to be packed in a nice aseptic carton, with a simple foil seal. Easy, right, and easy to recycle. Now, on the other hand, it is packaged in a plastic bottle with a high recycle number, with a plastic lid with a foil underseal, and the whole thing is wrapped with a printed plastic "lable" shrinkwrap thingee (technical term, that!) :laugh: About three times more packaging than it needs. I wrote Carnation about it, they sent me coupons for it, but no answers. I think they're a division of Nestles, now.

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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How about the plastic cartons of milk and cream. All you have to do is pull here and push here and the spout pops open. My foot!! By the time you manage to tear the sucker open you have to be careful how you pour it otherwise some of it is on the counter.

'A person's integrity is never more tested than when he has power over a voiceless creature.' A C Grayling.

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Sardine and anchovy tins irritate me. I hate how when I pull back the tab, sometimes it breaks off in my hand, leaving me with a half opened tin with the curl of metal sticking up and no way to get the rest off. And it also makes me crazy when I pull back the whole cover, but the very last bit on the end is stuck. So when I finally wrestle that part off the tin, the metal cover snaps off and I get a lovely fine spray of anchovy oil in my face. :angry:

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We seem to get a lot of products like ground flaxseed and dried fruits that come in supposedly resealable plastic bags, but often the part that is supposed to tear off doesn't tear properly, and even if it does, the zip seal rarely works, and then if you just want to close it with a clip, there's a bump from the zipper that prevents it from folding neatly.

Then there are oils and vinegars that come with some kind of flow restrictor on the bottle that doesn't really restrict it enough for any practical use, so you still have to put your thumb over the top of the bottle to shake it onto something lightly.

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And I hate how large packages of things like potato chips and corn chips are made of a material which rips like crazy and so you can't close the bag properly after you once open it.

And I hate how drinks which come in a can cannot be resealed properly.

Both of the above are deliberate in MHO. :angry:

well, maybe not so "H" :hmmm:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Then there are oils and vinegars that come with some kind of flow restrictor on the bottle that doesn't really restrict it enough for any practical use, so you still have to put your thumb over the top of the bottle to shake it onto something lightly.

And on the other hand, you have to actually pull out the restrictor if you want any appreciable amount for cooking...

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Micro-tatos or whatever they call the potatoes individually wrapped in plastic so they can go right into the microwave. I mean, it's a POTATO. What the heck? :blink:

And grocery stores around here sell "peeled onions"--all the loose brown paper skin removed, for fifty cents more per pound. Yanno, I just can't imagine how many onion paper I'd have to skin to get a pounds worth. Not to mention they are much more subject to getting icked.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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  • 1 year later...

I'd like to add my vote here. I think one of the worst packaging ideas -- and it is in wide use -- is cream cheese in foil bricks. Once you open it, it's incredibly difficult to get it closed and the nature of the product is not conducive to being transferred to another container without significant loss.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Breakfast cereal in boxes. A resealable inner bag would be nice.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Active dry yeast in 1 lb non-resealable foil packets. If you don't use a nice sharp pair of scissors to open them, hey presto! Your counter is well leavened, as well as anything else that might be nearby, including your drink. Sometimes this happens even if you do use a nice sharp pair of scissors they'll escape, since the foil is that same stuff Darienne complains about that's used in chip bags.

I end up putting mine in a brown glass jar, but honestly - if they can put those nice functional zip strip thingies on bags of frozen shrimp, surely they can put them on the yeast packs!

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Bay's English Muffins

They come wrapped in that stiff plastic that rips when you open it and is impossible to close back. You either have to rewrap the whole package or stick it in an old bread bag.

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Huh, my deli uses brown paper and nice restickable labels. It's about the only thing they do really well, packaging wise. I have a gripe with the leaky plastic tubs with ill-fitting lids that the use for olives and the like....

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Sardine and anchovy tins irritate me. I hate how when I pull back the tab, sometimes it breaks off in my hand, leaving me with a half opened tin with the curl of metal sticking up and no way to get the rest off. And it also makes me crazy when I pull back the whole cover, but the very last bit on the end is stuck. So when I finally wrestle that part off the tin, the metal cover snaps off and I get a lovely fine spray of anchovy oil in my face. :angry:

When the key falls off the can, I place the lid in the tines of a fork and pry it off. It works 85% of the time.

Why can't products like chipotle chiles and tomato paste come in small jars that can be sealed after the first use? How many of us have thrown out 1/2 cans of dried out tomato paste?

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Why can't products like chipotle chiles and tomato paste come in small jars that can be sealed after the first use? How many of us have thrown out 1/2 cans of dried out tomato paste?

I buy tubes of tomato paste like this to cut down on waste, but truly, those tubes are a LOT more expensive than the cans so I never know if it's worth it.

When I'm being really good, I portion out tablespoon sized dollops of the canned stuff onto a plate lined with plastic wrap, freeze it, then roll the whole thing up and stuff it in a ziploc and keep it in the freezer for individual portions. Do the same thing with Chipotles. The Chipotles are actually really nice that way, you can dice them up while frozen much easier than room temp.

You have to remember to label them, though, because dollops of frozen tomato paste and dollops of frozen chipotles look exactly the same. Granted, you can smell the difference, but sometimes I forget and end up with the wrong one.

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Why can't products like chipotle chiles and tomato paste come in small jars that can be sealed after the first use? How many of us have thrown out 1/2 cans of dried out tomato paste?

I transfer unused tomato paste to a quart freezer bag and freeze it in a flat sheet (like this). There's enough non-water stuff in there that it's easy to just break off chunks of the sheet without having to defrost it.

Chipotles just sit in the can with a sheet of plastic wrap rubber-banded over the top. They seem to last forever that way in the fridge. For jalapenos, the first batch I bought was in a glass jar. Now I just save the jar and the brine and add to it from cans that I buy.

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I'd like to add my vote here. I think one of the worst packaging ideas -- and it is in wide use -- is cream cheese in foil bricks. Once you open it, it's incredibly difficult to get it closed and the nature of the product is not conducive to being transferred to another container without significant loss.

Foil packaged cream cheese is great for baking - easy to remove and also to 'eyeball' if you don't need the entire amount in a recipe.

Using the cheese in another way, no - I think that is why they offer cream cheese in plastic tubs.

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cut deli meats that are sealed all the way to the meat, making it impossible to open w/o getting scissors dirty and impossible to close.

Anything one uses small quantities of, that then requires "refrigerate after opening". Sometimes it seems half my fridge is full of half empty bottle and jars of this and that.

Beer in cans and wine in tetra bricks are an abomination.

Cans that don't stack on top of each other.

Chips bags that you can't tear open unless you're Arnold strong, in which case they'll rip and tear completely, creating an interesting special effect of flying chips and a big mess.

Glass or plastic jars that are built in a way that makes it impossible to get all of the stuff out.

Oh, and resealable! deli meat and cheese packages that are anything but resealable, in particular the kind that was somehow glued shut but when you open it the top inadvertently gets stretched out so much that you can't glue it back down, no matter how sticky the glue might be.

And in general, all the damn plastic packaging of everything, that creates millions of tons of trash every year. :angry:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Then there are oils and vinegars that come with some kind of flow restrictor on the bottle that doesn't really restrict it enough for any practical use, so you still have to put your thumb over the top of the bottle to shake it onto something lightly.

And on the other hand, you have to actually pull out the restrictor if you want any appreciable amount for cooking...

And then there's the bottles where the top screws onto the plastic restrictor thingy instead of the glass, so if you take it out you can't even close the bottle anymore.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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In the spirit of Fat Guy's manufacturers' directions topic, I offer the suggestion that food packaging designers can, also, be bitten by the dumbbug. Here's my first bit of evidence, courtesy of Kate's butter, which comes in little tubs. The lids don't stay on, the foil "cap" (or whatever it's called) is useless, and then there's the measurements.

DSC00215.JPG

Of course, that first tablespoon is impossible to pry out -- but, hey, at least it's volumetric and not metric, right?

Surely you've got some design-challenged food packaging gripes to share....

...but I really like the butter - and buy it in quarters.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Why can't products like chipotle chiles and tomato paste come in small jars that can be sealed after the first use? How many of us have thrown out 1/2 cans of dried out tomato paste?

I buy tubes of tomato paste like this to cut down on waste, but truly, those tubes are a LOT more expensive than the cans so I never know if it's worth it.

When I'm being really good, I portion out tablespoon sized dollops of the canned stuff onto a plate lined with plastic wrap, freeze it, then roll the whole thing up and stuff it in a ziploc and keep it in the freezer for individual portions. Do the same thing with Chipotles. The Chipotles are actually really nice that way, you can dice them up while frozen much easier than room temp.

You have to remember to label them, though, because dollops of frozen tomato paste and dollops of frozen chipotles look exactly the same. Granted, you can smell the difference, but sometimes I forget and end up with the wrong one.

I've frozen chipotles before, but I'd never thought of freezing leftover tomato paste. Love it.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Pre-sliced smoked salmon.....

Every package I've encountered so far has the living (deleted) vacuum sucked out of it. And guess what? The pre-sliced salmon is welded together.

Of course you can get interleafed smoked salmon, but this never comes in the smaller sizes that most home users buy.

I used to slice my own salmon, more sides than I care to remember, but finding a whole, unsliced side of cold smoked salmon is virtually impossible to find.

End of rant

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