Title:
Ingredient Package and Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Coaxial and non-coaxial ingredient packages provides an integrated inner and outer package via a common transverse seal across opposing ends of the package. The transverse seal is accomplished by way of the outer surface of the inner package and the inner surface of the outer package. The inner package functions to receive a first ingredient and the outer package functions to receive a second ingredient. An opening mechanism located at a select package end enables the user to unseal the inner and outer packages simultaneously thereby facilitating the common dispensing of package contents or ingredients in a complementary manner for opportune admixture. Certain methodology for coaxial ingredient or foodstuff service and/or presentation is further presented as reflective of the disclosed structures.



Inventors:
Doll, Paul Edward (Madison, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/742754
Publication Date:
11/06/2008
Filing Date:
05/01/2007
Assignee:
KRAFT FOODS HOLDINGS, INC. (Northfield, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
426/394
International Classes:
B65D5/50; B65D5/48
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LONG, LUANA ZHANG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FITCH EVEN TABIN & FLANNERY, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A coaxial foodstuff package, the coaxial foodstuff package for packaging plural foodstuffs in distinct coaxial compartments, the coaxial foodstuff package comprising at least one inner foodstuff barrier, an outer foodstuff barrier, first and second package ends, and a longitudinal package axis, the inner foodstuff barrier receiving an inner foodstuff thus forming an inner food package, the outer foodstuff barrier receiving the inner food package and an outer foodstuff in substantially coaxial relation about the package axis, the inner foodstuff barrier preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs, the outer foodstuff barrier preventing contact intermediate the outer foodstuff and radially ambient matter, the first and second package ends being sealed for selectively preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs and axially ambient matter.

2. The coaxial foodstuff package of claim 1 wherein the inner foodstuff barrier comprises a longitudinal lap seal and the outer foodstuff barrier comprises a longitudinal fin seal, the lap seal for minimizing package material volume intermediate the inner and outer foodstuff barriers, the fin seal for maximizing seal integrity.

3. The coaxial foodstuff package of claim 1 comprising manually-enabled, end-opening means, the end-opening means for enabling a user to manually open a select package end, the select package end being selected from the group consisting of the first and second package ends.

4. The coaxial foodstuff package of claim 3 wherein the end-opening means are defined by select scoring, the select scoring being selected from the group comprising singular score lines, paired score lines, continuous score lines, and skipped score lines, the select scoring being orthogonal to the package axis.

5. The coaxial foodstuff package of claim 4 wherein the select scoring is laser scored for enhancing the user's ability to manually open the select package end.

6. A foodstuff package, the foodstuff package for packaging and presenting plural foodstuffs, the foodstuff package comprising at least one inner foodstuff barrier, an outer foodstuff barrier, and first and second package ends, the inner foodstuff barrier extending in the outer foodstuff barrier for surrounding an inner foodstuff and forming an inner food package, the outer foodstuff barrier receiving the inner food package and an outer foodstuff, the inner foodstuff barrier surrounding the inner foodstuff barrier and preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs, the outer foodstuff barrier preventing contact intermediate the outer foodstuff and radially ambient matter, the first and second package ends being sealed for selectively preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs and axially ambient matter.

7. The foodstuff package of claim 6 wherein, the outer foodstuff barrier receiving the inner food package and an outer foodstuff in substantially coaxial relation about the package axis, the end-opening means and the inner and outer boundaries being cooperable to enable the user to coaxially dispense the inner and outer foodstuffs.

8. The foodstuff package of claim 6 comprising manually enabled, end-opening means, the end-opening means for enabling a user to manually open a select package end and axially dispense the inner and outer foodstuffs therefrom, the select package end being selected from the group consisting of the first and second package ends.

9. The coaxial foodstuff package of claim 8 wherein the end-opening means are defined by select scoring, the select scoring being selected from the group comprising singular score lines, paired score lines, continuous score lines, and skipped score lines.

10. An ingredient package, the ingredient package for presenting plural ingredients, the package comprising at least one inner tube, an outer tube, and first and second package ends, the inner tube receiving an inner ingredient and the outer tube receiving the inner tube and an outer ingredient, the inner and outer tubes being sealed at the first and second package ends, the inner tube thereby preventing ingredient contact, the outer tube thereby sealing the package from ambient matter.

11. The package of claim 10 wherein the inner and outer tubes are sealed to one another at the first and second package ends, a select package end comprising manually enabled, end-opening means, the end-opening means for enabling a user to manually open the select package end and axially dispense the inner and outer ingredients therefrom.

12. The foodstuff package of claim 11 wherein the end-opening means are defined by select scoring, the select scoring being selected from the group comprising singular score lines, paired score lines, continuous score lines, and skipped score lines.

13. A foodstuff service method, the foodstuff service method for serving mixable foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer, the method comprising the steps of: aligning an inner foodstuff about a foodstuff axis; coaxially aligning at least one outer foodstuff about the inner foodstuff; sealing the inner and outer foodstuffs from ambient matter prior to final foodstuff service; opening the inner and outer foodstuffs to ambient matter for finally serving the foodstuffs; and finally serving the inner and outer foodstuffs.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the inner and outer foodstuffs are prevented from contacting one another during coaxial foodstuff alignment.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein the inner and outer foodstuffs are simultaneously and axially displaced during final foodstuff service.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the inner and outer foodstuffs are manually forced into axial displacement by pinching the foodstuffs along the foodstuff axis.

17. The method of claim 13 wherein the inner and outer foodstuffs are mouth-mixed after final foodstuff service.

18. A foodstuff presentation method, the method for coaxially presenting plural foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer, the method comprising the steps of: coaxially aligning a plurality of foodstuffs about a foodstuff axis; axially displacing the foodstuffs along the foodstuff axis for coaxially presenting the foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer; and presenting the coaxially aligned and axially displaced foodstuffs to the foodstuff consumer.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the foodstuffs are prevented from contacting one another during coaxial foodstuff alignment.

20. The method of claim 18 wherein the foodstuffs are sealed from ambient matter prior to axial foodstuff displacement.

21. The method of claim 20 wherein the foodstuffs are opened to ambient matter prior to axial foodstuff displacement.

22. The method of claim 18 wherein the foodstuffs are pinched to effect axial foodstuff displacement.

Description:

FIELD

The present disclosure generally relates to an ingredient or foodstuff package having distinct ingredient or foodstuff compartments, and in particular to an ingredient package which functions to package and dispense plural ingredients or foodstuffs therefrom.

BACKGROUND

Gasified candy, when exposed to moisture, tends to melt when in prolonged contact therewith. Given a sufficient amount of exposure to moisture (as for example, when exposed to one's mouth), the candy shells surrounding carbon dioxide gas bubbles essentially melt thereby releasing carbon dioxide gas, which action is often described as a popping sensation in one's mouth. The candy, to have its intended affect, should preferably be melted at the time of consumption and therefore separated from ingredients that may tend to otherwise prematurely melt the candy shells and release the popping gas. The candy, however, is often times enjoyed in conjunction with other food items or foodstuffs having significant moisture content such as pudding. In order to successfully serve both pudding and gasified candy for simultaneous consumption, it is necessary to separate the two ingredients prior to consumption. Packaging that enables the consumer to simultaneously and conveniently carry both ingredients in a single package for simultaneous consumption and enjoyment is therefore desirous.

Gasified candy and pudding are exemplary ingredients, however. Other foodstuffs or ingredients that may benefit from compartmentalized separation prior to consumption include any number of probiotic products and/or products containing active cultures such as yogurt or cottage cheese juxtaposed against other sugary ingredients or foodstuffs such as fruit, fruit-based ingredients, jams, and jellies. Some of the more pertinent prior art relating to packaging directed to compartmentalizing ingredients or constituent parts prior to active admixture and the like is described hereinafter.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,861,522 ('522 patent), which issued to Llewellyn et al., discloses a Compartmented Package having Variable Volume Compartments. The '522 patent teaches a compartmented package in which a longitudinal diaphragm, made of film, is sealed to the inner wall of a circular tubular member, also made of film, to form at least two continuous longitudinal linear junctures therebetween in a manner such that the volumes of the resulting compartments are variable. A two-compartment package having infinite relative volume variability in both compartments is stated to be the preferred embodiment.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,495,748 ('748 patent), which issued to Rowell, discloses certain Containers and Machine for Making Them. The '748 patent teaches a container preferably made from sheet plastics comprising a bag containing a tubular valve member, the bag being sealed with a seam at each end, the top seal having an opening therein for entry of an access tube into the valve member, and the valve member having a sealing seam which facilitates piercing of the access tube through the valve member into the bag. A second bag may be provided within the first bag. A machine for making the containers continuously from sheets of material is also disclosed.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,681,228 ('228 patent), which issued to Kerry et al., discloses a Package Filled with a Water Soluble Toxic Pulverulent or Granular Product. Kerry et al. note that some chemical products are so toxic that they must not come into contact with parts of the human body. The '228 patent teaches a package of such a construction that during filling and transport thereof and during the release of product therefrom, the risk of anyone coming into contact with the product is restricted to a minimum, is characterized in that the product is situated in a closed inner container consisting of a water-soluble flexible material, and that the filled inner container is placed inside a closed outer container consisting of a flexible material which is resistant to water, both the inner container and the outer container consisting of a flexible tube which is closed near the two ends by a transverse joint and the end strips of the inner container are connected to the joining strips of the outer container in a manner such that between the contents of the inner container and the said joining strips there is a certain distance, and that a tear line is made in an exposed part of one of the end strips of the inner container.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,935,086 ('086 patent), which issued to Benkus et al., discloses a double-bag package, and method for manufacturing the same, constructed by modification to existing Double Bag Package and Perforation Knife. The '086 patent teaches certain form and fill packaging machines and perforation knives. In a preferred embodiment thereof, the disclosure involves producing a double-bag package from a single sheet of packaging film by feeding a roll of film having graphics printed sideways rather than vertically into a vertical form, fill and seal packaging machine and using a novel perforating/cutting knife to alternately cut and perforate transverse seals. The perforating/cutting knife has teeth in the shape of oblique triangular pyramids, with each tooth having three cutting edges. The perforating/cutting knife produces self-correcting T-shaped perforation patterns capable of capturing and redirecting errant tears for fail-safe directional separation.

International Publication No. WO 94/27886, authored by Richter et al., discloses a Container with Multiple Chambers, to Package Components Separately Prior to Use in Admixture. The Richter et al. publication teaches a package for accommodating a product having at least two components, which package has at least two self-contained chambers in which the individual components of the product can be stored in such a manner that they are hermetically separated from one another. The individual chambers are connected together in such a manner that they can be separated from one another only by destroying at least one chamber wall. The end regions of the chamber walls are in the form of a common closure for the individual chambers such that the individual chambers can only be opened simultaneously. In the preferred embodiment, the package comprises at least one folded carton having essentially a front and a back wall, side walls, bottom flaps and top flaps, inside which carton are arranged in a fixed manner at least two tube-like inner sachets each of which accommodates one of the components directly and which represent the chambers for the individual components, and the top end regions of which that project out of the inside of the folded carton form the common closure after the inner sachets have been filled separately.

From a review of these publications and other prior art generally known in the relevant art, it will be seen that the prior art does not teach a package for coaxially aligning and compartmentalizing constituent ingredients of a final mixture. Further, the prior art does not teach certain methodology for finally serving foodstuffs or presenting ingredients by axial displacement relative to package assembly, whereby plural foodstuffs or ingredients are coaxially presented for mixture at the time of consumption. The prior art thus perceives a need for a package assembly and methodology associated therewith that provides consumers with a novel means for receiving and consuming multiple ingredients, the admixture of which has arguably greater delectable value than the sum of its parts.

SUMMARY

Accordingly, an ingredient separating package is disclosed which functions to package and present plural ingredients which may, upon presentation, effect an opportune admixture. In one aspect, the package may comprise at least one inner tube or inner barrier, an outer tube or barrier, first and second package ends, and a longitudinal package axis extending intermediate the first and second package ends. The inner and outer tubes may optionally extend coaxially about the package axis. The inner tube receives an inner ingredient and the outer tube receives both the inner tube, laden with the inner ingredient, and an outer ingredient. The inner and outer tubes are sealed at the first and second package ends. The inner tube thereby prevents untimely ingredient inter-contact, the outer tube thereby seals the coaxial package from ambient matter such as air, debris, or other matter that may be considered problematic to effect a proper ingredient admixture.

The inner and outer tubes may be sealed to one another at the first and second package ends and may comprise certain manually enabled, end-opening structure as may be preferably defined by state of the art singular, paired, continuous, or skipped laser scoring. Thereby, the user may selectively unseal or open a select package end (typically the top package end as directed by external graphical indicia) and coaxially dispense the inner and outer ingredients for further effect or action. Certain methodology is further presented as reflective of the disclosed structures in terms of coaxial ingredient presentation and foodstuff service.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front or top perspective view of an embodiment of a coaxial ingredient package assembly;

FIG. 2 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the coaxial ingredient package assembly shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front or top plan view of an embodiment of the coaxial ingredient package assembly outlining an otherwise hidden inner ingredient compartment in broken lines;

FIG. 4 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the coaxial ingredient package assembly shown in FIG. 3 depicting coaxial inner and outer ingredient compartments;

FIG. 5 is an end view of the coaxial ingredient package assembly shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a back or bottom perspective view of an inner ingredient barrier of the coaxial ingredient package assembly configured for a lap seal type longitudinal seal;

FIG. 7 is a back or bottom perspective view of an outer ingredient barrier of the coaxial ingredient package assembly configured for a fin seal type longitudinal seal;

FIG. 8 is a back or bottom perspective view of the inner ingredient barrier and the outer ingredient barrier of the coaxial ingredient package assembly coaxially aligned about a longitudinal package axis;

FIG. 9 is a back or bottom perspective view of the coaxial ingredient package assembly with a first end removed and depicting a user pinching or squeezing a second end to coaxially displace first and second coaxially aligned ingredients from the package assembly;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary view of a select package end being manually removed from the coaxial ingredient package assembly depicting skipped, paired score lines to enable the manual end removal;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary view of a select package end with end removal started to the left of the figure and depicting skipped, singular score lines to enable further manual end removal;

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary view of a select package end of the coaxial ingredient package assembly depicting continuous, paired score lines to enable manual end removal;

FIG. 13 is a fragmentary view of a select package end of the coaxial ingredient package assembly depicting a continuous, singular score line to enable manual end removal;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged front or top view of the coaxial ingredient package assembly with a first package end removed and depicting a user pinching or squeezing a second package end thereby manually aiding axial displacement of first and second ingredients, the first and second ingredients being coaxially presented at the opened first package end;

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary depiction of a user pinching or squeezing the coaxial ingredient package assembly adjacent a sealed first package end thereby axially displacing coaxially aligned first and second ingredients directly into the user's mouth via an open second package end for mouth mixing;

FIG. 16 is a top perspective type depiction of two tandem vertical form fill and seal assemblies forming the coaxial ingredient package assembly;

FIG. 17 is a front or top perspective view of another embodiment of an ingredient package assembly;

FIG. 18 is a section view of the ingredient package assembly of FIG. 17 taken along line 18-18 of FIG. 17; and

FIG. 19 is a section view of the ingredient package assembly of FIG. 17 taken along line 19-19 of FIG. 18.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings with more specificity, an embodiment of a coaxial ingredient or foodstuff package or coaxial package assembly 10 is generally illustrated and referenced in FIGS. 1-5, 14, and 16. Another embodiment of a non-coaxial ingredient or foodstuff package assembly 102 is generally referenced in FIGS. 17-19. The coaxial package assembly 10 is designed primarily for compartmentalizing and packaging ingredients or foodstuffs in coaxial relation to one another and for presenting the coaxially aligned ingredients or foodstuffs to the consumer. The non-coaxial package assembly 102 is designed primarily for compartmentalizing and packaging ingredients or foodstuffs to the consumer. In this regard, it has been noted that certain foodstuffs and/or ingredients are often best stowed or compartmentalized until the time of consumption or admixture.

Thus, the coaxial ingredient package assembly 10 may well function to package plural ingredients or foodstuffs in distinct coaxial compartments and preferably comprises at least one plastic, pliable, or pinchable inner foodstuff barrier or tube 11 as illustrated and referenced in FIGS. 1-4, 6, and 8-13, and 16; and a plastic, pliable, or pinchable outer foodstuff barrier or tube 12 as illustrated and referenced in FIGS. 1-5, and 7-16. Further, the package assembly 10 may be said to preferably comprise first and second package ends 13 as generally depicted and referenced in FIGS. 1, 3-5, and 9-15; and a longitudinal package axis 100 as depicted and referenced in FIGS. 1-4, 8, and 14.

The inner ingredient or foodstuff barrier 11 is preferably formed by way of a first vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) assembly 15 as generally depicted in FIG. 16 and may preferably comprise a composite polymer material comprising state of the art materials such as polypropylene, polyester, paper, polyolefin extrusions, adhesive laminates, and other such materials. It is noted that for many ingredients, foodstuffs, or food products, flavor retention is highly important. In this regard, as is noted in the prior art, metalized food-contacting layers or surfaces provide excellent flavor retention when juxtaposed adjacent ingredients. Thus, it is contemplated that a metalized food or ingredient-contacting layer may preferably or alternatively form an innermost surface or layer 14 of foodstuff barrier 11 as generally referenced in FIG. 6.

The film composition of inner foodstuff barrier 11 generally depicted in FIG. 6 should in any event be ideally suited for use on vertical form and fill machines for the packaging of foodstuff ingredients or food products, as the methodology involved in constructing package assembly 10 preferably involves the use of tandem VFFS machines or assemblies as generally depicted in FIG. 16. Both the innermost surface 14 of barrier 11 and the outermost surface or layer 16 of barrier 11 should provide excellent food-contacting barrier properties (as would, for example, a metalized thin layer of aluminum). Further, the outermost surface 16 of barrier 11 should enable sealing attachment to the innermost surface 14.

In this regard, it is noted that state of the art techniques for forming a preferred longitudinal lap seal may involve the use of metalized oriented polypropylene (OPP) or metalized polyethylene terephtalate (PET). Excellent results may be achieved by utilizing OPP or PET for the outside or outermost surface 16 of barrier 11 insofar as the same enables state of the art heat sealing of the longitudinal back seal (or transverse seal) of the film. Notably, there is no requirement for an ink layer for the inner ingredient or foodstuff barrier 11 as viewable graphics and the like may be considered superfluous, the same being otherwise hidden or blocked from view by the outer barrier 12.

With reference to FIGS. 6 and 8, it will be seen that a portion of the inside surface layer 14 is mated with a portion of the outside surface or layer 16 in the area indicated by an arrow (in FIG. 6) to form a lap seal 20 (referenced in FIG. 8). The lap seal 20 in this area may typically be accomplished by applying heat and pressure to the film in such area. The lap seal design shown in the noted figures thus helps to insure that the product to be placed inside the formed package will be protected or isolated from matter radially external to the inner foodstuff barrier 11.

It is contemplated that inner foodstuff barrier 11 may preferably comprises a longitudinal lap seal 20 of the type generally described and depicted in FIG. 8 so as to minimize packaging material volume extending into the interstices 17 between the inner foodstuff barrier 11 and the outer foodstuff barrier 12, which interstices 17 is generally referenced in FIG. 8. From a comparative consideration of FIGS. 2 and 8, it will be understood that providing a lap seal 20 on barrier 11 will not only minimize packaging material volume, but maximize the outer foodstuff volume 18 and minimize obstruction(s) during axial displacement of the outer foodstuff or ingredient 28. The outer foodstuff volume 18 is generally referenced in FIG. 2, and the outer foodstuff 28 is generally depicted and referenced in FIGS. 4, 9, 14, and 16.

The outer foodstuff barrier 12 is preferably formed by way of a second vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) assembly 19 tandemly juxtaposed in inferior adjacency to assembly 15 as further generally depicted in FIG. 16. Outer foodstuff barrier 12 may also preferably comprise a composite polymer material comprising state of the art materials such as polypropylene, polyester, paper, polyolefin extrusions, adhesive laminates, and other such materials. As has been noted, many foodstuffs or food products benefit from the use of metalized food-contacting packaging layers or surfaces to retain food flavor. Thus, a metalized food-contacting layer may form an innermost layer or surface 23 of foodstuff barrier 12 as referenced in FIG. 7.

The film composition of outer foodstuff barrier 12 generally depicted in FIG. 7 should in any event be also be ideally suited for use on vertical form and fill machines for the packaging of food-based ingredients or food products, as the methodology involved in constructing package assembly 10 preferably involves the use of tandem VFFS machines or assemblies 15 and 19. The innermost surface 23 of barrier 12 should provide excellent barrier properties (as would, for example, a metalized thin layer of aluminum) and should enable sealing attachment unto itself. In this last regard, it is noted that state of the art techniques for forming a fin seal 22 may also involve the use of metalized oriented polypropylene (OPP) or metalized polyethylene terephtalate (PET). Excellent results may be achieved by utilizing OPP or PET for the inside or innermost surface 23 of barrier 12 insofar as the same enables state of the art heat sealing of the longitudinal back seal (or transverse seal) of the film. Notably, outer foodstuff barrier 12 may comprise an outer ink or graphics layer for the presentation of graphics that can be viewed through a transparent outside layer 24, which outside layer 24 may comprise state of the art OPP or PET materials.

In this last regard, it will be noted that a longitudinal fin seal 22 is to be preferred for longitudinally sealing the back of outer foodstuff barrier 12, which fin seal 22 is generally depicted in FIGS. 2, 8, and 9. Outer foodstuff barrier 12 may preferably comprises a longitudinal fin seal 22 of the type generally described and depicted so as to maximize the outermost (hermetic) seal integrity of the package assembly, it being generally understood that fin seals generally provide superior hermetic seals. Further, in contradistinction to the inner lap seal 20 which functions to provide a benefit by reducing interstitial packaging material volume, there is no equal benefit of this type external to the package and thus the outer fin seal 22 is to be preferred to provide a superior seal and barrier to matter external to the package assembly 10 such as air, bacteria, debris, etc. Alternatively, however, it is contemplated that a lap seal may also be used to back seal the outer foodstuff barrier 12, for example in situations requiring conservation of materials.

The fin seal variation generally depicted also provides that the product to be placed in the formed package will be protected from the ink layer by the inside surface or layer 23. Again, the outside layer 24 does not normally contact any packaged foodstuff product. In the preferred embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, the inside surface or layer 23 is folded over and then sealed on itself in the area indicated by the arrows. Again, this seal is accomplished by the application of heat and pressure to the film in the area illustrated as may be seen from a general inspection of FIG. 16 at reference numeral 25.

It should perhaps be reiterated that the packaging materials that are fed into the form, fill and seal machines shown in FIG. 16 are preferably packaging film(s), such as polypropylene, polyester, paper, polyolefin extrusions, adhesive laminates, and other such materials, or from layered combinations of the above. For many food products, where flavor retention is important, a metalized layer may form the innermost layer, and in the case of inner foodstuff barrier 11, a metalized layer may form both the innermost surface or layer 14 and the outermost surface or layer 16.

As may be further seen from an inspection of FIG. 16, the inner foodstuff barrier 11 functions to receive an inner ingredient or inner foodstuff 26 and thereby forms an inner (food) package 27. The inner ingredient or inner foodstuff 26 is further illustrated and referenced in FIGS. 2, 4, 9, and 14. The outer foodstuff barrier 12, in turn, receives the inner food package 27 and an outer foodstuff 28 in substantially coaxial relation about the package axis 100. The inner foodstuff barrier 11 essentially functions to prevent contact intermediate the inner foodstuff 26 and the outer foodstuff 28 as further depicted in FIGS. 2, 4, 9, 14, and 16. The outer foodstuff barrier 12 essentially functions to prevent contact intermediate the outer foodstuff 28 and radially ambient matter or matter radially external to package assembly 10 (such as air or debris).

Finally, the first and second package ends 13 are preferably heat-pressure sealed to finally seal the package assembly 10. The sealed first and second package ends 13 effectively function to selectively prevent contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs 26 and 28 and axially ambient matter or matter axially external to package assembly 10. In this last regard, the notion of selectively preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs 26 and 28 and axially ambient matter is meant to convey that the user may elect to enable contact therebetween, as for example, by opening the package assembly 10. It is thus contemplated that the coaxial foodstuff package or package assembly 10 may further preferably comprise certain manually-enabled, end-opening means for enabling a user to manually (in other words, with one's hand and/or fingers) open a select package end, the select package end being selected from the group consisting of the first and second package ends 13, but which may preferably be situated adjacent the top end as directed by implied by graphical indicia viewable via the outer package structures.

It is further contemplated that the end-opening means may be defined by certain select scoring as selected from the group comprising a singular score line 30 as generally depicted in FIGS. 11 and 13; paired score lines 31 as generally depicted in FIGS. 3, 10, 12, and 14; continuous score lines 32 as generally depicted in FIGS. 12-14, and skipped score lines 33 as generally depicted in FIGS. 3, 10, and 11. It will be seen from an inspection of the noted figures that the select scoring may be preferably transversely aligned or orthogonal to the package axis 100 for enabling a user to remove the select package end as comparatively depicted in FIGS. 10 and 14. It is further contemplated that the select scoring may be preferably laser scored as a means to enhance the user's ability to manually, evenly and simultaneously open the compartments 38 and 39 containing the inner foodstuff 26 and the outer foodstuff 28, respectively, to ambient matter, including, a user's mouth 101 as generally depicted in FIG. 15.

In this last regard, it is contemplated that the preferred opening technology take the form of or be defined by a laser score. The laser score will be both on the inner tube 11 and the outer tube 12. It is further contemplated that the laser score may be preferably applied while the packages are in the web configuration, prior to being formed into a tube. As heretofore stated, the score can be of many different designs; a solid score, a skip score (as shown by dotted lines), a double score where the scores are preferably about 1 mm apart making it easier to align the inner and outer scores for a clean removal of the select package end (i.e. the top) of each tube. By using a laser score the entire select package end (i.e. the top) of the tube can be removed, making the dispensing of the ingredients or inner and outer foodstuffs 26 and 28 inside much cleaner or with minimal axial obstruction(s).

Certain foodstuff service and/or presentation methodology is inherently taught by the structure(s) heretofore disclosed and described. For example, a certain foodstuff service method is contemplated whereby contact between plural foodstuffs may be prevented prior to final foodstuff service. In this regard, the method is contemplated as comprising certain steps including, aligning an inner foodstuff such as inner foodstuff 26 about a foodstuff axis such as package axis 100. The step of inner foodstuff alignment may be structurally achieved by bounding or packaging the inner foodstuff with a first foodstuff barrier such as inner foodstuff barrier 11 as generally depicted in FIG. 15 at 35. The methodology may further comprise a step of coaxially aligning at least one outer foodstuff such as outer foodstuff 28 about the inner foodstuff (and the foodstuff axis). The step of outer foodstuff coaxial alignment may be structurally achieved by bounding or packaging the outer foodstuff(s) with a second or secondary foodstuff barrier(s) such as outer foodstuff 12 as generally depicted in FIG. 15 at 36.

After the respective foodstuffs are axially aligned, the same may be sealed from ambient matter (such as air or debris) for stowing and/or transporting the ingredients or foodstuffs and the foodstuffs may be unsealed or opened to ambient matter (such as a plate or one's mouth) prior to final foodstuff service. After opening or unsealing the otherwise sealed foodstuffs, it is contemplated that the methodology may involve the step of finally serving the inner and outer foodstuffs to the foodstuff consumer, as for example, by setting the coaxially aligned foodstuffs in front of the foodstuff consumer or by dispensing the foodstuffs from coaxial alignment directly to the foodstuff consumer, as for example, by dispensing the contents directly into one's mouth as generally depicted in FIG. 15.

Notably, the step(s) of foodstuff alignment and foodstuff sealing may be defined by the process of packaging the foodstuff in respective foodstuff sheathing such as inner and outer foodstuff barriers 11 and 12. Thus, the methodology here contemplated may further involve the step of preventing foodstuff contact during the step of coaxial foodstuff alignment. Further, the inner and outer foodstuffs may be simultaneously and axially displaced during final foodstuff service as for example, by squeezing, pinching (as at 37 in FIGS. 9 and 14) or otherwise forcing the foodstuffs from the structures herein specified, which structures may be defined as an inner chamber 38 and an outer chamber 39 both of which are generally referenced in FIG. 8.

In this last regard, it is contemplated that the user may elect to allow gravitational force to pull foodstuffs or other ingredient contents from the inner and outer chambers 38 and 39 as generically depicted in FIG. 14 where both gravitational force (in other words, the weight of package contents as depicted at vector arrow 40) and the user's pinching action 37 may operate to force foodstuffs 26 and 28 from chambers 38 and 39 for further processing. Thus, it may be said that inner and outer foodstuffs may be manually forced into axial displacement by pinching the foodstuffs along the foodstuff axis.

Typically, after having been finally served the foodstuffs, the user may elect to mix the foodstuffs out of coaxial or concentric alignment. This may be achieved in any number of ways, not the least of which is via mouth-mixing the foodstuffs as implicitly shown in FIG. 15. Notably, should the user elect to dispense container contents directly into one's mouth from the open select package end, admixture of ingredients may be effectively achieved thereby to effect flavor and enjoyment prior to admixed foodstuff or ingredient consumption.

It is contemplated that the process of presenting foodstuff(s) may differ somewhat from foodstuff service methodology heretofore set forth. The presentation method or method for coaxially presenting plural foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer is believed to essentially comprise the steps of coaxially aligning a plurality of foodstuffs about a foodstuff axis. The process of coaxial foodstuff alignment is believed to set up the process of axial displacement of foodstuffs along the foodstuff axis, which process, in turn, sets up the process of coaxial presentation of foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer. In other words, after axially displacing the coaxially aligned foodstuffs, the same may be presented to the foodstuff consumer. As before, the plural foodstuffs may be prevented from contacting one another during coaxial foodstuff alignment. Further, should the foodstuffs benefit from being sealed from ambient matter (as for example for stowage on a market shelf), it is further contemplated that the foodstuffs may be sealed from ambient matter and opened prior to axial foodstuff displacement, the displacement may be effectively achieved or effected by way of pinching action or other forceful means as heretofore contemplated.

While the above description contains much specificity, this specificity should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of the invention. For example, the invention may be described as a coaxial foodstuff package having distinct coaxial compartments for housing distinct ingredients, the separation of which may be beneficial until to the actual time of consumption. The disclosed preferred embodiments have illustrated a two chamber foodstuff package. However, a coaxial foodstuff package comprising more than two distinct compartments according to the teachings set forth herein is contemplated. Should the manufacturer elect to form three or more coaxial compartments, it is contemplated that inner barriers should take the form of inner foodstuff barrier 11 and the outermost barrier should take the form of outer foodstuff barrier 12.

Further, a foodstuff or other ingredient package for packaging and presenting plural foodstuffs or ingredients is disclosed. The package essentially comprises at least one inner foodstuff or ingredient barrier (such as barrier 11), an outer foodstuff or ingredient barrier (such as barrier 12), first and second package ends, and at least one longitudinal package axis (such as axis 100). The inner foodstuff barrier extends intermediate the outer foodstuff barrier and the package axis for receiving an inner foodstuff and forming an inner food package or packages. The outer foodstuff barrier receives the inner food package(s) and an outer foodstuff, which essentially fills the interstitial cavity intermediate the outer barrier and the inner food package(s). The inner foodstuff barrier essentially functions to prevent contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs, and the outer foodstuff barrier essentially functions to prevent contact intermediate the outer foodstuff and radially ambient matter.

The first and second package ends are sealed for selectively preventing contact intermediate the inner and outer foodstuffs and axially ambient matter. In this regard, it is contemplated that a multiaxial foodstuff package may be gleaned from the teachings set forth herein wherein the foodstuff package may comprises plural inner foodstuffs bound by certain inner foodstuff barriers and a single outer foodstuff which fills the interstitial space intermediate the inner foodstuff barrier(s) and the outer foodstuff barrier. Further, in terms of a foodstuff presentation method, the method for presenting plural foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer may be said to comprise the steps of axially displacing axially aligned plural foodstuffs along the foodstuff axes for axially presenting plural foodstuffs to a foodstuff consumer; and presenting the axially aligned and axially displaced foodstuffs to the foodstuff consumer. This method may be preferably defined by coaxially aligning the plural foodstuffs or ingredients prior to axial displacement.

As a last point, it will be seen that the types of ingredients storable in the package do not necessarily have to be overtly reactionary with one another as would be the case with gasified candy and moisture-laden ingredients such as pudding. The package may well function to separate ingredient pairs and the like such as cottage cheese on the outside and a fruit sauce on the inside (similar to the ingredients of BREAKSTONE'S®/KNUDSEN® COTTAGE DOUBLES® brand(s) snack packs); chocolate sauce on the outside and marshmallow cream on the inside; pudding on the outside and whipped cream on the inside; peanut butter on the outside and jelly on the inside; ketchup on the outside and mustard on the inside; and pudding on the outside and gasified candy on the inside. The package can be manufactured so that the contents including both foodstuffs can be visible through the transparency of the film used for the package or the exterior product can be partially seen through the transparency of the film so that the outer package can also carry the brand name and advertising of the manufacturer as needed.

Turning now to the embodiment of FIGS. 17-19, the package 102 is similar in construction and manufacture to that of the package 10 discussed above, but is not coaxial. More specifically, the package 102 includes and inner foodstuff barrier 111 disposed within an outer foodstuff barrier 112. The inner foodstuff barrier 111 may have an outer layer 116 that contains an inner foodstuff 126 and separates the inner foodstuff 126 from an outer layer 124 of outer foodstuff barrier 111 and an outer foodstuff 128 contained therein. The inner and outer foodstuffs 126 and 128 may be different, or they may be the same. Also similar to the previously-discussed package 10, the package 110 has sealed first and second ends 113, a lap seal 120 between ends of the outer layer 116 of the inner foodstuff barrier 111, and a fin seal 122 between ends of the outer layer 124 of the outer foodstuff barrier 112, as illustrated in FIG. 18. As illustrated in FIG. 19, the outer foodstuff 128 does not necessarily surround the inner foodstuff barrier 111.

Although described by reference to a preferred embodiment and certain alternative embodiments, it is not intended that the novel assembly be limited thereby, but that modifications thereof are intended to be included as falling within the broad scope and spirit of the foregoing disclosure, the following claims and the appended drawings.