This week, we have to design packaging for rice. The packaging has to be different from what is out there in the market. Apply each one of the SCAMPER techniques and do a write-up on your findings. Then choose the option that you think would work best and do a sketch of what the packaging would look like.
In order to design something unique, different from what’s already on the market, I had to start with some research. I know briefly what’s on the market in Norway. To research the market worldwide I searched the web. Here are some of the findings:
The conclusion on this mini research is that there are endless variations in rice packages around the world. Rice is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. Thus, all the variations in the packaging – in which gives us a challenge in making something completely new and unique. All the ideas first coming to my head, I found already exists, so I’ll have to dig deeper.
It’s necessary to create a package practical for transportation, storing and stacking and at the same time ensure that the product retains the same, optimal quality (exposure to humidity, temperatures etc.). I also have to come up with suggestions that I believe don’t exist in the market out there, even though it might.
Within the last 10 years, there has been a shift in the consumers behaviour. Earlier, the average consumer more often tended to take purchase decisions based solely on what they wanted. Environmental concern was reserved for the active environmentalists, hippies and old ladies in purple clothing. However, today consumers expect their suppliers to take care of Mother Earth for our children to come, and if they don’t, the consumers are conscious enough to avoid those products and suppliers. Today, to establish trust and credibility, it’s not enough to say you care – you’ll have to mean it and live it. In other words, consumers today have more power than before, and the suppliers have to follow their preferences.
With this in mind, I find it important to take this aspect, the environmentally consciousness, into concern creating a new packaging for the rice.
Using the SCAMPER-technique
Changing the materials the packaging is made of, I can think of;
- Bamboo containers with curved stamp on the top of the lid (bamboo grow fast and close to the rice fields)
- Braided palm leaves with paper stick for branding
- Containers made of recycled plastic
- Packaging made of recycled textile
I would like to combine the package with something to do with the dining experience such as;
- Collectable (good quality) eating bowls inside the rice-package
- Collectable (good quality) chopsticks inside the rice-package
- A package combining different types of rice in one buy (individually packed inside the package). Could be from different parts of the world and/or for different uses/ dishes.
- I found containers designed to convey what country the rice is from. I would like to adapt this concept, but change it a bit, and let the customer buy a package with for example three or four different types of rice in a package, for different uses, explaining on the backside when to use the different types. This can also be combined with the cookbook mentioned in “put to another use”.
- Make the package from recycled carboard (the packages today just have a stamp saying they can be recycled, not telling anything about the carboard being recycled).
- I find the rice “boil in”-bags existing today a very good and practical concept, the rice turns out perfect every single time, but the bag is difficult to handle. As the rice inside turns very hot, it’s easy to burn fingers in the process when getting the rice out of the bag. It’s possible to make the bags easier to lift up from the pot, open it without the need of a scissor or knife and pour the rice out into a serving bowl.
Put to another use
It’s possible to add information on the package about different aspects of the operation:
- Track the rice back to the rice-field and tell personal stories about the villages and the farmers (positive). Establish an educational program for the children of the rice farmers so they can afford to send their children to school, making it possible for the consumers to make donations to these poor families.
- There are very many types of rice with different uses. It would be great to make a cookbook to explain different types of rice and how to prepare and use them. Income from sales from the cookbook shall go to an educational fund for children of the rice farmers.
- Environmental threats are all around us and we hear about it indirectly or directly every, single day. A possibility is to take away the common package as we know it and design a re-usable bag. This way, the grocery shops can sell rice in bulk (by weight) and the customers will fill their own bag to bring home for reusable purpose. This environmentally friendly bag can be personalized if the buyer wants to, characteristics for the buyer to choose themselves (from a menu on a web-shop); zipper or threads, different colors, pattern and materials (cotton, hemp, bamboo, sacking, silk, recycled, woven plastic etc.). This way the rice producer will save costs on packaging, just deliver the rice in big sacks to the shops, leaving it up to the customers paying for it.
- The customers might know in advance the amount and the type of rice they want to buy. If they do, it’s possible for them to order the rice through a web shop, pay for it picking it up at the local grocery store, or even get it delivered on the doorstep for an additional cost. In many households around the world, rice is a basic ingrediency in every day dinners, so they could even enter into a subscription agreement with the rice delivery – as with the milkman in the old days.
For this, I imagine the package should be flexible, re-usable, solid and cheap to produce, as with a sacking, making a retro, old look-alike design to it (as the old coffee sackings).
Choice of strategy
The option I think would work best, is the re-designed and improved boil-in bag. The boil-in bags seem to be alike all over the world. Why not make it more like a big tea-bag?
First, I would make the bag in an Eco-friendly, biodegradable material such as ecological cotton or paper. It can withstand boiling water, will not turn as hot as plastic and its far better for the nature. It’s possible to make it so the rice will not stick too much into it. The used/ empty bag can be thrown into the food-trash bin, as the used tea bags.
Secondly, the closing/opening mechanism will have to keep the rice inside the bag and at the same time be easy to open (and seal). This mechanism must not turn too hot in the water.
Last, but not least, it would be ideal to have a label on the bag.
Here are two sketches of the rice package with the new and improved boil-in-bags: