Five Influential Food and Beverage Package Designs of the Last Decade

In the last ten years, package designs have made numerous breakthroughs that looking back, make us wonder just how we ever lived without them. They’re designs that make life that much easier in the little ways – like when it comes to opening a can of soup or keeping a can of soda cool, for example. Below are five of arguably the most influential package designs of the last decade.

#1  The Upside-Down Ketchup Bottle

Remember turning the old ketchup bottle upside-down and shaking it as violently as you possibly could just to get those last few dollops of ketchup loose from the bottom? Fortunately, Heinz finally heard our need for ketchup on demand and answered with the upside-down ketchup bottle in 2002. With its ergonomic design, squeeze sensitive silicone valve and an ability to stay upright in any fridge door, the upside-down ketchup bottle represents nothing short of genius in package design.

#2  The Soda Fridge Pack

When I was a kid, we were never able to keep cold soda in the fridge for long simply because we drank it too quickly and those ‘suitcase’ style boxes took up too much room in the fridge. Then, in 2001, the Coca-Cola company changed all that with the Fridge Pack. Alcoa conducted a consumer research study and found what was an obvious problem: that people didn’t replace soda cans as quickly as they consumed them. The fridge pack, a longer, thinner substitute to the suitcase style packaging was designed to fit inside a standard fridge with ease. The design also includes a perforated top which tears off at one corner of the package so cans can be removed.

#3  Steam-in-the-bag Vegetables

Credited with introducing the flash-freeze method of storing frozen foods over 75 years ago, it’s fitting that Birds Eye Foods would design packaging that cooks vegetables in an equally impressive manner. In 2006, the company embarked on a new, no-prep method of cooking with its Steam Fresh line of packaged vegetables. Packaged in freezer to microwave pouches that steam the veggies right in to bag, the time it takes to prepare what’s inside is reduced substantially. The launch brought the era of steam-in-bag cooking to the states, with a tidal wave of frozen foods using similar cooking methods and packaging right behind it.

#4  The Easy-Open Soup Can

According to Campbell’s, the easy-open lid was the result of research that found that nearly half of consumers stated convenience as a primary diver of their purchasing decisions. Campbell’s made purchasing and using their soup that much more convenient with the introduction of this lid. Rendering the can opener nearly useless when the company unveiled the lids on 70 different soup varieties, the easy-open lid reinvigorated the way we view convenience.

#5  The Plastic Beer Bottle

Why is a simple plastic bottle one of the most influential packaging designs of the last decade? Introduced by the Miller Brewing Company on a national scale way back in 2000, the years have provided plenty of reasons why this simple bottle is so great. For starters, plastic doesn’t shatter, so thanks to this bottle, we’re all enjoying some of our  favorite bottled beverages in venues where they were previously banned. A resealable, screw-on cap allows the beverage to be enjoyed over a longer period of time while keeping the liquid inside cool, and can be recycled in many areas its glass counterpart just piles up in landfills.

A Sustainable Shoebox for PUMA

Clever Little Bag

As sustainable packaging practices are becoming ever more popular, many businesses continue to question whether or not such practices are worth the associated price tag. While it may have cost more to go with that special grade of PCW paper a few years ago, there simply is no reason not to incorporate sustainable materials into manufactured goods today. While big business continues to question the price tag associated with “going green”,  our landfills continue to grow at a fearful rate, aided in part by the enormous amount of excess packaging and material which is continually produced by these companies only to be thrown out later.

Boxes contribute to millions of tons of waste each year, and even with proposed second uses, they are eventually thrown out (Communication Arts).

Fortunately, PUMA is one of the industry giants that is trying to do their part to lighten the load we place on the environment. The shoemaker recently partnered with award-winning industrial design and branding firm fuseproject, which churned out what founder Yves Behar calls the “Clever Little Bag”. Intended to conform to PUMA’s long-term sustainability program, this revolutionary new packaging system is designed as a cleaner, greener solution to the tissue-filled shoebox of yesteryear.

Clever Little Bag 2

The result of 2,000 designs and 21 months of packaging research, this innovative packaging system uses 65 percent less cardboard than the standard shoebox, ships for less and eliminates the need for a shopping bag. Adorned with the PUMA logo, each recyclable bag serves a dual purpose as it protects the shoes in each package and can then be used as a tote post-purchase. Only a single, die-cut cardboard element is used in each package and requires minimal assembly.

PUMA claims implementation of this new packaging system will cut water, energy and fuel consumption through the manufacturing process by more than six percent a year, saving over eight tons of paper and one million liters of both water & fuel oil. In addition, the new system is projected to save an equivalent of 275 tons of plastic retail bags and will keep 10,000 tons of CO2 out of the air. PUMA plans to implement this new system in 2011.

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