Title:
Sleeve for engaging a food container with condiment holder formed thereon
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sleeve having a condiment holder formed thereon is provided. The sleeve includes a sleeve wall having an upper edge, a lower edge, an upper opening and a lower opening. The upper opening is wider than the lower opening. The sleeve has an inward taper from the upper opening to the lower opening. At least one condiment holder is provided at a preselected position on the outer surface of the sleeve wall.



Inventors:
Peter Jr., Null Ciarrocchi (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Application Number:
09/813390
Publication Date:
09/26/2002
Filing Date:
03/21/2001
Assignee:
CIARROCCHI PETER
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G23/02; B65D25/20; B65D81/38; B65D85/72; (IPC1-7): A47G19/00; B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
POLLARD, STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Phili) (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A sleeve for engaging a food container having a condiment holder formed thereon, the sleeve comprising: a. a sleeve wall having an upper edge, a lower edge, an inner surface and an outer surface, the upper edge of the sleeve wall defining an upper opening, the lower edge of the sleeve wall defining a lower opening, the upper opening being larger than the lower opening, the sleeve wall having an inward taper from the upper opening to the lower opening; b. at least one condiment holder formed at a preselected position on the outer surface of the sleeve wall.

2. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a cup having a side wall extending from the outer surface of the sleeve wall and defining a recess for receiving a condiment.

3. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a first side wall, a second side wall opposite and spaced apart from the first side wall, a bottom wall, and an outer wall, the condiment holder defining a space for receiving a condiment.

4. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup having a tab extending therefrom, the tab attached to the outer surface of the sleeve wall.

5. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup support having an opening for receiving a condiment cup.

6. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup holding wall having a first edge and a second edge, the first edge and the second edge attaching to the outer surface of the sleeve wall at spaced apart locations, the condiment cup holding wall defining an opening for receiving a condiment cup.

7. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a fold-out pocket, the pocket having a first foldable wall extending from the outer surface of the sleeve wall, a second foldable wall extending from the outer surface of the sleeve wall and spaced apart from the first foldable wall, and an outer wall extending from the outer surface of the sleeve wall and connecting the first foldable wall and second foldable wall, the pocket defining a space for receiving a condiment.

8. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the sleeve wall has at least one protrusion extending from the inner surface of the sleeve wall, the at least one protrusion adapted to provide friction for engaging a food container.

9. The sleeve of claim 1, wherein the sleeve wall has a frustoconical shape.

10. A sleeve for engaging a food container having a condiment holder formed thereon, the sleeve comprising: a. an outer wall having an upper edge, a lower edge, an inner surface and an outer surface, the upper edge of the outer wall defining an upper opening, the lower edge of the outer wall defining a lower opening, the upper opening being larger than the lower opening, the outer wall having an inward taper from the upper opening to the lower opening; b. an inner wall located radially inward from the outer wall, the inner wall having an upper edge, a lower edge, an inner surface and an outer surface, the upper edge of the inner wall defining an upper opening, the lower edge of the inner wall defining a lower opening, the upper opening being larger than the lower opening, the inner wall having an inward taper from the upper opening to the lower opening; c. a transverse wall extending from the upper edge of the outer wall to the upper edge of the inner wall, the outer wall, inner wall and transverse wall defining a space for receiving a lip of food container; and, d. at least one condiment holder formed at a preselected position on the outer surface of the outer wall.

11. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a cup having a side wall extending from the outer surface of the outer wall and defining a recess for receiving a condiment.

12. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a first side wall, a second side wall opposite and spaced apart from the first side wall, a bottom wall, and an outer wall, the condiment holder defining a space for receiving a condiment.

13. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup having a tab extending therefrom, the tab attached to the outer surface of the outer wall.

14. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup support having an opening for receiving a condiment cup.

15. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a condiment cup holding wall having a first edge and a second edge, the first edge and the second edge attaching to the outer surface of the outer wall at spaced apart locations, the condiment cup holding wall defining an opening for receiving a condiment cup.

16. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the at least one condiment holder comprises a fold-out pocket, the pocket having a first foldable wall extending from the outer surface of the outer wall, a second foldable wall extending from the outer surface of the outer wall and spaced apart from the first foldable wall, and an outer wall extending from the outer surface of the outer wall and connecting the first foldable wall and second foldable wall, the pocket defining a space for receiving a condiment.

17. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the outer wall has at least one protrusion extending from the inner surface of the outer wall, the at least one protrusion adapted to provide friction for engaging a food container.

18. The sleeve of claim 10, wherein the outer wall and inner wall have a frustoconical shape.

19. A method of serving snack foods and condiments, comprising: a. filling a food container with a snack food; b. sliding a sleeve having a condiment holder formed thereon around the food container until the sleeve is snug on the food container.

Description:
[0001] This invention relates to the field of condiment holders and, more particularly, to a sleeve for use with a food container having a condiment holder formed thereon.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Snack foods, such as french fries, nacho chips, or pretzel nuggets, are often eaten along with condiments including ketchup, dipping sauce, melted cheese, and the like. The aforementioned snack foods are often enjoyed at sporting events, arenas or concerts. In those environments, a person has a cramped space in which to enjoy their snack food and, thus, eating can at times be difficult. In addition, people at sporting events, arenas or concerts often have both hands occupied, perhaps holding a beverage in one hand, and their snack food of choice in the other.

[0003] Snack foods are often served in a food container cup for convenient and economic reasons. Most people prefer to dip their snack food into the ketchup or other dipping sauce, thus regulating the amount of ketchup or other dipping sauce to suit their personal preference. However, when a cup or similar container is used to dispense the snack food, as is the case at, for example, arenas, a person must apply the ketchup or other dipping sauce directly to the top layer of snack food. This results in the top layer of snack food being immersed in ketchup or dipping sauce, and the lower layers of snack food completely devoid of any of the desired ketchup or dipping sauce. In addition, a person must inevitably dip their fingers into the ketchup or dipping sauce in order to take the snack food from the top layer.

[0004] Attempts have been made to have a condiment holder which can be used in conjunction with a cup. However, these attempts have several drawbacks. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,429,262 (Sharkey) discloses a condiment cup having prongs that permit the condiment cup to be clipped to the upper edge of a food container. Such a condiment cup placed at the top of a food container can easily cause a food container to tip over, spilling its contents on the user. For example, a thick dipping sauce, such as melted cheese, could easily topple the food container to which the condiment cup is clipped. This is more likely as a person consumes the contents of the food container, whereby the food container cup will become lighter and topple more easily. In addition, there is very little support for the condiment cup, as the prongs must carry the weight of the condiment cup, plus the weight of the ketchup or dipping sauce.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 6,152,362 (Rosenfeld), discloses a food container and condiment holder, in which the food container is specially manufactured having a slit formed in the wall of the container. A condiment holder with a tab is slid into the slit. This arrangement has a number of problems. As a threshold matter, there is the prohibitive cost of manufacturing special cups with the required slits. If this arrangement is manufactured with several slits, there is also the problem of compromising the integrity of the food container. This arrangement is also problematic in that the tab on the condiment holder must be of a particular strength to support the condiment holder and the ketchup or dipping sauce placed in the condiment holder.

[0006] Thus, there is the need for a condiment holder that can be used in connection with any commercially available food container or cup. There is also the need for a condiment holder that can be secured firmly to a food container, without having to specially manufacture food containers for receiving such a condiment holder.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention provides an article that satisfies the need for a condiment holder that can be adapted to be used in connection with many existing food containers. The present invention provides a truly innovative and effective solution to this need.

[0008] A condiment holder having features of the present invention comprises a sleeve having a sleeve wall with an upper edge defining an upper opening and a lower edge defining a lower opening, the upper opening being wider than the lower opening. The sleeve wall also has an outer surface and an inner surface. At least one condiment holder is formed at a preselected position on the outer surface of the sleeve wall. The condiment holder defines a space for receiving condiments. Alternately, the condiment holder defines a space for receiving a condiment cup.

[0009] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent in light of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments thereof, as illustrated in the accompanying figures. As will be realized, the invention is capable of modifications in various respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and the description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] For the purpose of illustrating the invention, the drawings show a form of the invention which is presently preferred. However, it should be understood that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown in the drawings.

[0011] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0012] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0013] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0014] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0015] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0016] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 5 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0017] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0018] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 9 is a top view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0021] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention in use with a food container.

[0022] FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 11 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention wherein the condiment holder is a foldable pocket.

[0024] FIG. 14 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention wherein the sleeve is formed from a double wall.

[0025] FIG. 15 is a cross sectional view of a the embodiment shown in FIG. 14 taken along line 13-13 of FIG. 14 of the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] Referring to the drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like elements, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention generally comprises a sleeve 10 having a sleeve wall 12 with an upper edge 14, a lower edge 16, an outer surface 28, and an inner surface 30. An upper opening 18 is formed by the upper edge 14. A lower opening 20 is formed by the lower edge 16. The upper opening is larger than the lower opening such that the wall 12 tapers inwardly from the upper edge 14 to the lower edge 16. In this arrangement, the sleeve 12 is designed to receive and engage with the side wall of a food container 22. The sleeve 10 can be formed to any size to accommodate existing food containers. However, the construction of the sleeve is particularly adapted to be used with conventional tapered containers. Upon receiving a tapered food container at the upper opening 18, the sleeve 10 is adapted to slide up the wall 24 of the food container 22.

[0027] In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 10 is formed as a frustoconical wall 12, as shown in FIG. 1. However, it is contemplated that the sleeve 10 may be formed in any geometry including rectangular.

[0028] In a preferred embodiment, the sleeve 10 is sized to slide onto the food container 22, and to grip the wall 24 of the food container 22 via friction. The sleeve 10 is preferably formed so as to grip the wall 24 of the food container 22 at a point generally near the food container's 22 center of gravity. In this manner, the food container 22 will not tip over once the sleeve 10 is placed around the food container 22. Because the sleeve 10 extends around the entire food container 22, the present invention has an integrity not provided by previous condiment holders.

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, at least one condiment holder 26 is formed at a preselected position extending from the outer surface 28 of the sleeve wall 12. It is contemplated that the condiment holder 26 can be formed at any preselected position on the outer surface 28 of the sleeve wall 12. The condiment holder 26 is generally formed as a cup 30 having a side wall 32 extending from the outer surface 28 and defining a recess for receiving condiments.

[0030] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, a sleeve 34 as described above has a condiment holder 36 integrally formed on the outer surface 38 of the sleeve 34. The condiment holder 36 has a first side wall 40, a second side wall 42 opposite the first side wall 40 and spaced apart from the first side wall 40, a bottom wall 44, and an outer wall 46 defining a space for receiving condiments. The walls of the condiment holder are sealed together to form a leakproof receptacle.

[0031] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, a sleeve 48 as described above has an outer surface 49 provided with a condiment holder 50 formed thereon. The condiment holder 50 of this embodiment is formed as a condiment cup 52 with a tab 54 extending from the condiment cup 52. The cup 52 is attached to and extends from the outer surface 49 via tab 54.

[0032] As shown in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9, the condiment holder 56 can also be formed as a condiment cup support 57 having an opening 58 sized to accept a removable conventional condiment cup 60. The condiment cup support 57 is attached to and extends from the sleeve 64 via tab 62. The condiment cup support 57 can be positioned at any location on the sleeve 64. It is appreciated that the condiment cup support 57 can be formed to answer size necessary to accommodate a condiment cup of any chosen size. For example, as shown in FIG. 10, the condiment cup support 57 can be formed having a wall 59, which provides additional support to the condiment cup 60.

[0033] In another embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, a sleeve 66 as described above has an outer surface 68, with a condiment holder 70 extending from the outer surface 68. The condiment holder 70 has a condiment cup holding wall 72, with a first edge 74 and a second edge 76 attached to the outer surface 68 at spaced apart locations so as to define a loop. The condiment cup holding wall 72 forms a space for receiving a conventional condiment cup, such as the condiment cup 60 pictured in FIG. 7.

[0034] As shown in FIG. 11, the sleeve 66 can be formed having protrusions 78 extending from the inner surface 80 of the sleeve 66 in order to assist in gripping a food container. Such protrusions 78 can be formed as knobs, flanges, indentations or any other suitable raised member to provide friction between the inner surface 80 of the sleeve and a food container.

[0035] In yet another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 13, a sleeve 82 is provided with a condiment holder 84 formed as a fold-out pocket 86 extending from the outer surface 88 of the sleeve wall 90. The pocket 86 has a first foldable side wall 92, a second foldable 94 side wall opposite the first foldable side wall 92, and an outer wall 96 defining a space for receiving a condiment. Each foldable wall 92, 94 extends from and is foldably attached to the outer surface 88. The pocket 86 can be originally provided in a collapsed position, with the outer wall 96 resting against the outer surface 88 of the sleeve wall 90.

[0036] In a further embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, a sleeve 100 is formed having an outer wall 102 surrounding an inner wall 104. The outer wall 102 has upper and lower edges 106, 108, and has an inward taper from the upper edge 106 to the lower edge 108. The inner wall 104 has upper and lower edges 110, 112, and has an inward taper from the upper edge 106 to the lower edge 112. The outer wall 102 and inner wall 104 are connected at their upper edges by a transverse wall 114. The outer wall 102, inner wall 104, and transverse wall 114 define a space for receiving the upper rim of a conventional food container. According to this embodiment, the sleeve 100 can be slid over the upper rim of a food container, providing for a very sturdy attachment. A condiment holder 116, which can be in the form of any of the condiment holders previously described herein, extends from the outer surface 118 outer wall 102.

[0037] It is also contemplated that the sleeve and condiment holder of the present invention can be manufactured so as to be stacked in a nesting position. Thus, the sleeve and condiment holder can be shipped to vendors in a convenient and space-saving format.

[0038] A method of serving snack foods and condiments with the sleeve of the present invention is also provided. In use, a vendor at, for example, a sports arena will fill a food container with a customer's desired snack food. The vendor will then slide the sleeve of the present invention around the food container until the sleeve is snug on the food container. The vendor or customer can fill the condiment holder with the customer's desired condiment, such as ketchup, melted cheese, or a dipping sauce, either before or after sliding the sleeve around the food container.

[0039] It is appreciated that the sleeve and condiment holder can be formed from plastic, cardboard, or any acceptable material. If formed from cardboard, the sleeve can be shipped in a folded state, for space-saving reasons. The condiment holder may be formed separate from the sleeve and affixed thereto, or may be formed as an integral part of the sleeve.

[0040] The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification, as indicating the scope of the invention.