Saturday, April 11, 2009

Food Packaging

Illustration from

Nature has also done a pretty good job in packaging the banana.
Handy, easy-grip size & shape.
Fits reasonably in most bags & pockets.
Cunningly curved so it won't roll away.
Bright & attractive colour without being too shocking.
Built-in colour coding for "best by" date - ripeness & over-ripeness clearly indicated.
Easy opening with no tools & no finger damage or staining.
Progressive opening so you can hold hygienically by the packaging as the fruit is eaten gradually.
Mouth-sized cross-section.
No stones, pips, or runny, sticky juice.
Package folds flat when empty.
Rapidly bio-degradable.
No-extra-cost joke thrown in (but I never actually heard of anybody really slipping on one).
If they would make it re-sealable after half usage, I would give it a perfect 10.

How strange then, that the same company should have given us the orange.
They must have sub-contracted that one to a start-up & not bothered with any customer clinics.
Actually, the inner packaging is not bad.
The handy bite-sized segments contain the delicious but sticky juice in dry-touch membranes which are quite as effective as plastic sweetie wrappers but much less objectionable in the mouth.
The segments hold together well & separate easily when required.
But the outer packaging is a disaster.
That glaring, unsophisticated colour certainly makes the orange easy to find on the shelf, and equally difficult to hide everywhere else.
The spherical shape may economise on packaging material, which is to be commended, and brings ballistic abilities which are of doubtful relevance, but it results in a product which will not fit in most bags or pockets, and too easily rolls off tables & down hills.
Initial opening requires a knife, which then needs cleaning, or tough thumb nails, which then need very thorough cleaning.
There follows 10 minutes of misery trying to pick off the orange outer packaging, which oozes sticky staining oil and unerringly squirts strong acid in both eyes as it doggedly breaks into small pieces rather than sticking together so you can take it off in one go.
Then another 5 minutes picking off the pith.
The admirably named pith.
The final insult is that not only is the packaging not really biodegradable, but the company's own recycling teams (compost heap worms) turn up their noses at it & will go on strike if they find significant quantities in your heap, just like corporation bin-men everywhere.

It was admittedly a good marketing ploy to name the product after the striking colour, so that every time potential customers sit at flashing orange lights or see orange turn signals, they get free commercials drilled right in.
But they should have spent more money on product development & less on marketing.
Really, signing on all the Dutch national sports teams seems like overkill.
And sponsoring Ukrainian revolutions is ethically questionable as well as being probably counter-productive in some times & places.
As for being associated with French telephone companies, well, I don't see the connection.

Still, they did a better job with the orange than with the lychee.
I think they will have to go back to the drawing board with that one.
An outer shell like an armadillo.
When you manage to get that off then you are left holding a wet sheep's eyeball.
If you still feel like eating, then for goodness sake don't bite as nearly all the eyeball is in fact stone.
It will never take off.

Parting thot: "If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed." – Benjamin Franklin

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