'Snappy' Plastic Cereal Carton draws inspiration from 'lego' blocks

by Rob Croft
Several major brands have made radical material changes to their packaging in order to leapfrog the competition.
Frito-Lay, for example, jumped out of its flexible bag and into the "Go Snacks" rigid container. It quickly followed with an equally revolutionary, "Stax" shaped plastic canister.
Similarly, Nestlé Coffee Mate and Folgers Coffee have redefined their respective product categories by offering packaging with improved freshness, ergonomic features, advanced labeling and a higher level of functionality.
Very often, these advantages outweigh any increase in production costs, if you know your consumer is willing to pay more for the added functionality and performance of the package.
With this in mind, we have chosen to address the enduring cereal carton—one of the most generic structural packages—and revitalize it with new materials.
Currently, only changes in 2-D graphics differentiate cereal packaging.
Cereal boxes have not changed in a tangible way for more than 50 years. Undeniably, the leap from a cereal box to a cereal bar is huge. But marketers have not developed their respective brands to their fullest form by investigating "the space in between" these product offerings.
Our "blue-sky" packaging concept, depicted in the illustration, strategically replaces the carton and bag-in-box with a single lightweight, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), blow-molded container.
Flip-top closure adds tamper evidence
Manufacturers can easily fill the containers with their wide, rectangular openings prior to applying a flip-top closure. This fitment offers built-in tamper evidence and a superior level of pour control.
In-mold labels decorate the container's side panels. In the upper corner, an ergonomic-grip mold helps consumers to hold and pour the package.
Opportunities abound for 3-D branding and the integration of molded features that complement the packaging graphics.
Built-in stacking features form a "LEGO" block effect, leading to improved stability on shelf. This configuration also allows the snapping together or bundling of several molded chambers. These compartments could hold dried fruit, sugar, low-calorie sweetener or even milk.
The cereal-and-milk combo, also depicted in the illustration, addresses the opportunity of combining cereal and milk as a single-serve offering. Manufacturers can fill and seal the two chambers separately, then snap them together.
This approach allows consumers to pour cold milk over the cereal, using the cereal compartment as a food bowl. Furthermore, it provides an exciting and new sales channel for cereal. Marketers can merchandise the cereal-and-milk combo in the dairy case section of the supermarket. BP
The author, Rob Croft, is Managing Partner of Swerve Inc., specialists in 3-D brand design. Contact him at 212.742.9560 or rob@swerveinc.com