Title:
Multiple sided food container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container for enclosing food products includes a main body with a wall defining an inner space, a first aperture and a second aperture for accessing the inner space. The container also includes a first cap operable to engage the main body and enclose one of the first aperture and second aperture, and a second cap operable to engage the main body and enclose the other of the first aperture and second aperture. Engagement of the first cap and the second cap with the main body encloses a food product within the inner space.



Inventors:
Coffey, Ryan M. (Janesville, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/148102
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D51/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container for enclosing food products, the container comprises: a main body having a wall defining an inner space, a first aperture and a second aperture for accessing the inner space; a first cap operable to engage the main body and enclose one of the first aperture and second aperture; and a second cap operable to engage the main body and enclose the other of the first aperture and second aperture, wherein engagement of the first cap and the second cap with the main body encloses a food product within the inner space.

2. The container of claim 1, wherein the main body includes a substantially cylindrical shape defining a reference axis.

3. The container of claim 2, wherein the first aperture and the second aperture are aligned with the reference axis defined by the main body.

4. The container of claim 1, wherein the first aperture and the second aperture are opposite from one another with respect to the main body.

5. The container of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first cap and second cap is operable to engage the main body with a twist motion.

6. The container of claim 1, wherein at least one of the main body, the first cap and the second cap is manufactured of a plastic material.

7. The container of claim 1, further comprising a latching mechanism coupled to the main body and operable to couple at least one of the first cap and second cap to the main body.

8. The container of claim 1, wherein the main body defined a polygonal cross-section.

9. The container of claim 1, wherein the food product includes a condiment.

10. The container of claim 9, wherein the condiment includes at least one of mustard, a jelly, ketchup, mayonnaise, and peanut butter.

11. A method of operating a container designed for enclosing food products, the method comprises the acts of: providing the container defining an inner space and having a main body with a first aperture and a second aperture, a first cap, and a second cap; engaging the first cap with the main body to cover the first aperture; placing a food product within the inner space of the container thought the second aperture; and engaging the second cap with the main body to cover the second aperture.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising disengaging the first cap from the main body to reach a portion of the food product via the first aperture, and disengaging the second cap from the main body to reach another portion of the food product via the second aperture.

13. A container operable to enclose a food product, the container comprises: a substantially cylindrical main body defining an inner space and having a first aperture and a second aperture opposite from the first aperture; a first cap operable to engage the main body and cover at least one of the first aperture and second aperture; and a second cap operable to engage the main body and cover at least one of the first aperture and second aperture, the main body cooperating with the first cap and the second cap to enclose the food product within the inner space.

14. The container of claim 13, wherein the first aperture is formed on a first end of the main body and the second aperture is formed at an opposite end of the main body, the first aperture being aligned with the second aperture.

15. The container of claim 13, wherein at least one of the first cap and second cap is operable to engage the main body with a twist motion.

16. The container of claim 13, wherein at least one of the main body, the first cap and the second cap is manufactured of a plastic material.

17. The container of claim 13, further comprising a latching mechanism coupled to the main body and operable to couple at least one of the first cap and second cap to the main body.

18. The container of claim 13, wherein the food product includes a condiment.

19. The container of claim 18, wherein the condiment includes at least one of mustard, a jelly, ketchup, mayonnaise, and peanut butter.

Description:

FIELD OF USE

The present invention relates to a device for storing, and providing access to, food products.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, the invention provides a container for enclosing food products. The container includes a main body having a wall defining an inner space, a first aperture and a second aperture for accessing the inner space. The container also includes a first cap operable to engage the main body and enclose one of the first aperture and second aperture, and a second cap operable to engage the main body and enclose the other of the first aperture and second aperture. Engagement of the first cap and the second cap with the main body encloses a food product within the inner space.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a method of operating a container designed for enclosing food products. The method includes providing the container defining an inner space and having a main body with a first aperture and a second aperture, a first cap, and a second cap. The method also includes engaging the first cap with the main body to cover the first aperture, placing a food product within the inner space of the container thought the second aperture, and engaging the second cap with the main body to cover the second aperture.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a container operable to enclose a food product. The container includes a substantially cylindrical main body defining an inner space and having a first aperture and a second aperture opposite from the first aperture. The container also includes a first cap operable to engage the main body and cover at least one of the first aperture and second aperture, and a second cap operable to engage the main body and cover at least one of the first aperture and second aperture. The main body cooperates with the first cap and the second cap to enclose the food product within the inner space.

Other aspects of the invention will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a container for storing food products according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates the container in FIG. 1 including a removable seal associated with each aperture of the container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before any embodiments of the invention are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. The use of “including,” “comprising,” or “having” and variations thereof herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms “mounted,” “connected,” “supported,” and “coupled” and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings. Further, “connected” and “coupled” are not restricted to physical or mechanical connections or couplings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a container 10 for storing food or perishable products according to one embodiment of the present invention. With respect to FIG. 1, the container 10 includes a main body 15 having a center portion 20, an upper connecting portion 25, and a lower connecting portion 30. The main body 15 defines an inner space 22 accessible via a first aperture 27 defined by the upper connecting portion 25 and a second aperture 32 opposite to the first aperture 27 and defined by the second connecting portion 30. Other constructions of the container 10 include the first aperture 27 and second aperture 32 formed at different locations of the main body 15, however. Moreover, other constructions of the container 10 can include the first aperture 27 and the second aperture 32 shaped and/or sized differently from one another.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, the center portion 20 is defined by a substantially cylindrical shape centered about a reference axis 34. The upper connecting portion 25 and the lower connecting portion 30 each includes a tapered wall or surface 35, 40 and a substantially cylindrical rim 45, 50 also centered about the axis 34. In the illustrated construction, the upper connecting portion 25 and the lower connecting portion 30 are integrally formed with the center portion 20. However, other constructions of the invention can include the main body 15 being formed of two or more detachable portions.

The container 10 also includes a first cap or lid 55 and a second cap or lid 60. The rims 45 and 50 are designed to receive the first cap 55 and the second cap 60, respectively. The first cap 55 and the second cap 60 are intended to securely enclose the inner space 22 by covering the first aperture 27 and the second aperture 32. In the illustrated construction, the first and second caps 55, 60 each includes a substantially circular surface or plate 65, 70 integrally formed with a side wall 75, 80. The rims 45 and 50 include ridges 85 extending outwardly from the rims 45, 50 and designed to slideably engage corresponding ridges 90 extending inwardly from the side walls 75, 80 of the first and second caps 55, 60. The first cap 55 and the second cap 60 engage the corresponding upper connecting portion 25 and lower connecting portion 30 by twisting caps 55, 60 with a clock-wise movement, as indicated by arrows 95.

On advantage of the present invention is that, because the first cap 55 is directly opposite to the second cap 60 along the reference axis 34, twisting the caps 55 and 60 in the clock-wise direction allows a user to securely engage the container 10 with caps 55, 60 and enclose at least one of the first aperture 27 and second aperture 32. Another advantage of the present invention is that a user can utilize, engage, use or reach food contents within the inner space 22 via either one of the first and second apertures 27 and 32 by disengaging the corresponding cap 55 and 60. For example, with a food product comprising of a gel-like constitution (e.g., mayonnaise or other condiments) contained by the container 10, a user can generally reach the majority of such product by disengaging one of the caps 55, 60. However, a significant amount of the product is generally attached to the walls defined by the main body 15 and is difficult to reach even with the use of utensils. By disengaging the other one of the caps 55, 60, the user can easy reach what is left of the product within the container 10.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the container 10 defines a substantially cylindrical shape, as indicated above with a circular cross-section. However, other shapes defined by alternate constructions of the container 10 fall within the scope of the invention. For example, alternative constructions of the container 10 can include the main body 15 defining a triangular, square, rectangular or other polygonal cross section. Moreover, the main body 15 can also be defined by walls other than extruded polygonal shapes. For example, the main body 15 can include shapes such as a right parallelepiped, a polyhedron, a sphere, an ellipsoid, a right circular cylinder, a shell or any other shape formed with arcuate walls and/or substantially flat walls.

The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 also includes first and second caps 55, 60 designed to engage corresponding upper and lower connecting portions 25, 30 with a twisting or circular motion (see arrows 95). However, other engagement and/or locking mechanisms to couple the first and second caps 55, 60 to the corresponding upper and lower connecting portions 25, 30 fall within the scope of the invention. For example, the first and second caps 55, 60 can include one or more grooves the receive rims 45, 50 of the main body 15. In another example, the main body 15 can include one or more latching mechanisms to engage and lock the first and second caps 55, 60. In yet another example, the first and second caps 55, 60 can be designed to be press-fitted and/or snap-fitted to corresponding upper and lower connecting portions 25, 30. In addition, the first and second caps 55, 60 can be adapted with dispensing mechanisms to extract and or dispense the food product enclosed in the container 10.

Alternative embodiments of the container 10 can include more than one cover or seal engaging each one of the upper and lower connecting portions 25, 30. For example, FIG. 2 illustrates the container 10 including a first seal 101 associated with the upper connecting portion 25 and a second seal 106 associated with the lower connecting portion 30. In the illustrated construction, the first and second seals 101 and 106 each include an outer edge 102 and 107 substantially aligned with peripheral edges of the corresponding cylindrical rims 45, 50. The first and second seals 101 and 106 also include a tab 103 and 108, respectively, extending from the outer edges 102 and 107 for removing the seals 101 and 106 from the container 10. The seals 101 and 106 are removable seals (e.g., safety seals, tamper proof seals) coupled to the upper and lower connecting portions 25, 30 with an adhesive or glue. However, other constructions can include the seals 101, 106 being coupled to the connecting portions 25, 30 by other suitable means.

One construction of the container 10 according to the present invention includes manufacturing the main body 15 and the first and second caps 55, 60 with a plastic material. However, the use of other materials for the manufacturing of the container 10 falls within the scope of the invention. For example, the main body 15 and first and second caps 55, 60 can be manufactured of a suitable polymer, metal (e.g., steel, aluminum, copper), glass, ceramic, wood, and other materials for storing food or perishable products. Moreover, separate or distinct portions of the main body 15 and the first and second caps 55, 60 can be manufactured of different materials. In other words, different parts of the container 10 can include or be manufactured of different materials.

As indicated above, the container 10 is designed to support and/or enclose food or perishable products. For example, the container 10 can be utilized to enclose spices such as allspice, anise seed, annatto, arrowroot, basil, bay leaves, caraway, seed, cardamom, cayenne, pepper, celery, chervil, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cream of tartar, cumin, curry powder, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, horseradish, juniper, berries, mace, marjoram, mint, mustard seed, mustard, nutmeg, onion, oregano, paprika, parsley, poppy seeds, red pepper, rosemary, saffron, sage, sesame seed, savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric, vanilla, cassia, chicory, chili pepper, cocoa, fenugreek, galangal, huacatay, hyssop, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, liquorices, nigella, star anise, sumac, tamarind, and wasabi. In another example, the container 10 can be utilized to enclose food products such as bullion cubes, cereal, coffee, gravy, honey, jelly, ketchup, lemon/lime juice, mayonnaise, mustard, pasta, peanut butter, tea, and rice. In yet another example, the container 10 can be utilized to enclose food products such as vegetables, fruits, grains, sauces, oils, dairy, and others.

Various features and advantages of the invention are set forth in the following claims.