Cal Poly puts squeeze on whipped cream cheese

This theoretical development from Cal Poly packaging students centers on a new format for Kraft whipped cream cheese using a squeeze bottle.

Packaging students from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, completed group class projects in June that involved developing theoretical packages and containers or improving on actual ones. This is the latest in a series of exclusive Packaging Insights newsletter reports that has highlighted the students’ efforts.

The group project was part of the university’s Fundamentals of Packaging course. The students’ own report is summarized in the following paragraphs. For those interested in further information, contact program director Jay Singh, Ph.D., phone 805/756-2129, e-mail jasingh@calpoly.edu. Also visit Packaging World’s Web site resource page on packaging universities.

Kraft’s Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese is a product ready for repackaging to suit current consumer trends. The proposed package is a plastic squeeze bottle with a closure featuring a racetrack oval, hinged flip-top cap applicator. This is a completely flush-sided two-piece, continuous-thread dispensing closure.

Kraft’s Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese is presently packaged in a butter-dish-shaped container as shown above. In addition to the outside snap-on plastic lid, the cream cheese is sealed by a foil liner that must be peeled away before use. This seal has two purposes: to increase shelf life and freshness and to prevent tampering.

Consumer trends lead the way

Kraft’s bent toward convenience has influenced the repackaging and redesigning of many of their products, Lunchables, Easy Mac Single Serve, Cream Cheese Snack Bars, and squeezable mayonnaise.

Like many other companies, Kraft has found success in squeeze bottles and currently packages the following in the squeezable containers: Kraft Barbecue Sauce, Bull’s-Eye Barbecue Sauce, Kraft Mayo Real Mayonnaise, Kraft Mayo Light Mayonnaise, Kraft Miracle Whip Dressing, and Kraft Miracle Whip Light Dressing.

Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese has, since its introduction, been packaged in a tub. With its increased spreadability over the original cream cheese recipe, and the consumer’s call for convenience, we feel that whipped cream cheese is an excellent candidate for the squeeze-bottle application.

The new squeeze bottle will add convenience and reduce spoilage. It will fit easily into the door of a refrigerator and can be transported and stored without worry of accidental opening or contamination.

Advantages over the tub

The current tub uses a lid that does not completely seal off air. Though the lid does latch onto the dish, air still seeps between the product and the outside environment under the lid. With the new cap proposed for the squeeze bottle, air will be completely sealed from the product when the cap is closed. When the lid is opened on the squeeze bottle, minimal amounts of air will hit the surface of the cheese as opposed to the large surface area exposed with the tub. Decreasing exposure to air will lengthen the life of the product. As with air, water is also able to accumulate in the current container.

The new squeeze bottle will be perfect for children and people on the go. The racetrack-shaped applicator diminishes the need for a knife. The wide stream of whipped cream cheese applied by the applicator does require further spreading.

Proposed materials: The current Kraft Mayo squeezable bottle is manufactured using clear PET. The cap is made of blue injection-molded polypropylene. We suggest using the same materials. The production lines will be utilized for the filling and labeling of all Kraft products using this bottle and closure combination.

Recyclability: PET comprises approximately 30% of all postconsumer plastic recycled today, but only 7% of all the plastics found in the waste stream. PET is in high demand as a recycled product for the manufacture of other extremely valuable commodities. It is an excellent choice of plastic for our container because it is widely accepted by recycling centers throughout the United States.

Polypropylene is also found in our package. Although the technology to recycle PP is available, it is rarely recycled by community recycling programs.

The new packaging of PET bottle with cap closure, will cost 20-33¢ each, depending on volume purchased.--RL

More in Coding, printing & labeling