Title:
Food holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A food tray is disclosed that prevents direct contact of the food items with the hands of a consumer and prevents the food to spill on the consumer clothes. In some embodiments, the food tray includes a back panel, three side panels, four flaps, and an apron. During the consumption of the food item, the apron is placed under the chin of the consumer to prevent the food from spilling on the consumer cloths. In some embodiments, the food tray is stackable for the ease of storage and transportation. In some embodiments, a notch on a side panel provides easy grip for the food tray.



Inventors:
Shamsnobari, Shahriar K. (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/381593
Publication Date:
02/25/2010
Filing Date:
03/13/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shahriar K. Shamsnobari (Sherman Oaks, CA, US)
Claims:
What claimed is:

1. A food container comprising: a. back panel; b. a first and second side panels hingedly connected to the back panel; c. a third and fourth side panels hingedly connected to the second side panel, wherein the first, second, third, and fourth side panels are at an upright position in relationship with the back panel forming a cavity for receiving a food item; d. a first flap hingedly connected to the third side panel, said first flap connected to the first side panel; e. a second flap hingedly connected to the fourth side panel, said second flap connected to the outside of the first side panel; f. a mid panel hingedly connected to the second side panel; and g. an apron hingedly connected to the mid panel, said apron for extending to under the chin of a consumer of said food item.

2. The food container of claim 1, wherein the back panel comprises an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the cavity during consumption of the food item.

3. The food container of claim 1, wherein the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel.

4. The food container of claim 1 further comprising: a. a third flap hingedly connected to the third side panel; and b. a fourth flap hingedly connected to the fourth side panel.

5. The food container of claim 4, wherein the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel.

6. The food container of claim 4, wherein the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank.

7. The food container of claim 1, wherein the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank.

8. The food container of claim 1, wherein the cavity is further for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the cavity of one food container inside the cavity of a next food container prior to placing a food item in said food container.

9. A food container for preventing spillage during consumption of a food item, the food container comprising: a. a receptacle formed by a back panel and a first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the first and second side panels connected to the back panel along first and second fold lines respectively, the third and fourth side panels connected to the second side panel along third and fourth fold lines respectively, the cavity for holding a food item for human consumption; b. a first flap connected the third side panel along a fifth fold line, wherein the first flap is adhered to the first side panel; c. a second flap connected to the fourth side panel along a sixth fold line, wherein the second flap is adhered to the first side panel; d. a mid section hingedly connected to the second side panel along a seventh fold line, the mid section for moving relative to the cavity along the seventh fold line; and e. an apron hingedly connected to the mid panel along an eight fold line, the apron for moving relative to the mid panel and the receptacle along the eight fold line, the apron for extending under the chin of a human during consumption of the food item.

10. The food container of claim 9, wherein the back panel comprises an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the receptacle during consumption of the food item.

11. The food container of claim 9, wherein the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel.

12. The food container of claim 9 further comprising: a. a third flap connected to the third side panel along a ninth fold line; and b. a fourth flap connected to the fourth side panel along a tenth fold line.

13. The food container of claim 12, wherein the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel.

14. The food container of claim 13, wherein the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank.

15. The food container of claim 9, wherein the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank.

16. The food container of claim 9, wherein the receptacle is further for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the receptacle of one food container inside the receptacle of a next food container prior to placing a food item in said food container.

Description:

CLAIM OF BENEFIT TO PRIOR APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 6_/___,___, entitled “Food Holder,” filed Mar. 13, 2008, the contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards packaging of food products and more particularly to food holders for sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, and the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Disposable packages such as Styrofoam containers, paper bags, cardboard boxes, carton, and sandwich wraps are widely used in restaurants, particularly those known as fast food restaurants for dispensing sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, burritos, and the like. Many consumers who purchase fast food items, consume it while standing, walking, or sitting in a car. Often, eating the food item would cause spillage of food items and garnishing on the consumer clothing. Also, the food item or garnishing may touch the consumer hand. Therefore, there is a need in the art for a food holder that is easy to hold, makes easy access to the food, and prevents spill.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A food tray is disclosed that prevents direct contact of the food items with the hands of a consumer and prevents the food to spill on the consumer clothes. In some embodiments, the food tray includes a back panel, three side panels, four flaps, and an apron. During the consumption of the food item, the apron is placed under the chin of the consumer to prevent the food from spilling on the consumer cloths. In some embodiments, the food tray is stackable for the ease of storage and transportation. In some embodiments, a notch on a side panel provides easy grip for the food tray.

Some embodiments provide a food container that includes a back panel. The food container also includes a first and second side panels that are hingedly connected to the back panel. The food container also includes third and fourth side panels that are hingedly connected to the second side panel. The first, second, third, and fourth side panels are at an upright position in relationship with the back panel forming a cavity for receiving a food item. The food container also includes a first flap that is hingedly connected to the third side panel. The first flap is connected to the outside of the first side panel. The food container also includes a second flap that is hingedly connected to the fourth side panel. The second flap is also connected to the outside of the first side panel. The food container also includes a mid panel that is hingedly connected to the second side panel. The food container also includes an apron that is hingedly connected to the mid panel. The apron can extend to under the chin of a consumer of the food item.

In some embodiments, the back panel includes an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the cavity during consumption of the food item. In some embodiments, the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel. In some embodiments, the food container further includes third and fourth flaps that are hingedly connected to the third and fourth side panels, respectively. In some embodiments, the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the cavity can further be used for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the cavity of one food container inside the cavity of the next food container prior to placing a food item in the food container.

Some embodiments provide a food container that can prevent spillage during consumption of a food item. The food container includes a receptacle formed by a back panel and a first, second, third, and fourth side panels. The first side panel is connected to the back panel along a first fold line. The second side panel is connected to the back panel along a second fold line. The third and fourth side panels are connected to the second side panel along third and fourth fold lines, respectively. The cavity can hold a food item for human consumption. The food container also includes a first flap that is connected the third side panel along a fifth fold line. The first flap is adhered to the first side panel. The food container also includes a second flap that is connected to the fourth side panel along a sixth fold line. The second flap is adhered to the first side panel. The food container also includes a mid section that is hingedly connected to the second side panel along a seventh fold line. The mid section can move relative to the cavity along the seventh fold line. The food container also includes an apron that is hingedly connected to the mid panel along an eight fold line. The apron can move relative to the mid panel and the receptacle along the eight fold line. The apron can extend under the chin of a human during consumption of the food item.

In some embodiments, the back panel includes an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the receptacle during consumption of the food item. In some embodiments, the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel. In some embodiments, the food container further includes a third flap that is connected to the third side panel along a ninth fold line. The food container further includes a fourth flap that is connected to the fourth side panel along a tenth fold line. In some embodiments, the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the receptacle is further be used for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the receptacle of one food container inside the receptacle of a next food container prior to placing a food item in the food container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The novel features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. However, for purpose of explanation, several embodiments of the invention are set forth in the following figures.

FIG. 1 illustrates a two dimensional view of the food holder according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the food holder according to some embodiments.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the food holder with the sides folded to create a holding receptacle for a food item according to some embodiments.

FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective of the food holder with a food item inserted in the holding receptacle in some embodiments.

FIGS. 5 illustrates a consumer holding a food item with the food item inserted in it according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIGS. 6 illustrates a consumer holding a food item with the food item inserted in it according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates the food holder according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications or variations may be made in the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. Other embodiments of the invention will apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein.

A food tray is disclosed that prevents direct contact of the food items with the hands of a consumer and prevents the food to spill on the consumer clothes. In some embodiments, the food tray includes a back panel, three side panels, four flaps, and an apron. During the consumption of the food item, the apron is placed under the chin of the consumer to prevent the food from spilling on the consumer cloths. In some embodiments, the food tray is stackable for the ease of storage and transportation. In some embodiments, a notch on a side panel provides easy grip for the food tray.

Some embodiments provide a food container that includes a back panel. The food container also includes a first and second side panels that are hingedly connected to the back panel. The food container also includes third and fourth side panels that are hingedly connected to the second side panel. The first, second, third, and fourth side panels are at an upright position in relationship with the back panel forming a cavity for receiving a food item. The food container also includes a first flap that is hingedly connected to the third side panel. The first flap is connected to the outside of the first side panel. The food container also includes a second flap that is hingedly connected to the fourth side panel. The second flap is also connected to the outside of the first side panel. The food container also includes a mid panel that is hingedly connected to the second side panel. The food container also includes an apron that is hingedly connected to the mid panel. The apron can extend to under the chin of a consumer of the food item.

In some embodiments, the back panel includes an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the cavity during consumption of the food item. In some embodiments, the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel. In some embodiments, the food container further includes third and fourth flaps that are hingedly connected to the third and fourth side panels, respectively. In some embodiments, the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the cavity can further be used for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the cavity of one food container inside the cavity of the next food container prior to placing a food item in the food container.

Some embodiments provide a food container that can prevent spillage during consumption of a food item. The food container includes a receptacle formed by a back panel and a first, second, third, and fourth side panels. The first side panel is connected to the back panel along a first fold line. The second side panel is connected to the back panel along a second fold line. The third and fourth side panels are connected to the second side panel along third and fourth fold lines, respectively. The cavity can hold a food item for human consumption. The food container also includes a first flap that is connected the third side panel along a fifth fold line. The first flap is adhered to the first side panel. The food container also includes a second flap that is connected to the fourth side panel along a sixth fold line. The second flap is adhered to the first side panel. The food container also includes a mid section that is hingedly connected to the second side panel along a seventh fold line. The mid section can move relative to the cavity along the seventh fold line. The food container also includes an apron that is hingedly connected to the mid panel along an eight fold line. The apron can move relative to the mid panel and the receptacle along the eight fold line. The apron can extend under the chin of a human during consumption of the food item.

In some embodiments, the back panel includes an arcuate cut for pushing the food item outside the receptacle during consumption of the food item. In some embodiments, the first and second flaps are glued to the first panel. In some embodiments, the food container further includes a third flap that is connected to the third side panel along a ninth fold line. The food container further includes a fourth flap that is connected to the fourth side panel along a tenth fold line. In some embodiments, the third and fourth flaps are glued to the back panel. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first, second, third, and fourth flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the back panel, the first, second, third, and fourth side panels, the mid section, the first and second flaps, and the apron are formed from a one piece blank. In some embodiments, the receptacle is further be used for stacking up the food container against similar food containers by placing the receptacle of one food container inside the receptacle of a next food container prior to placing a food item in the food container. Several more embodiments are described in the following sections.

FIG. 1 illustrates a two dimensional view of a food holder (also referred to as food tray or food container) 100 according to some embodiments of the invention. As shown, the food holder 100 includes back panel 20; side panels 10, 30, 60, and 70; flaps 80, 90, 95, and 97; mid section 40; and apron 50. In some embodiments, back panel 20 has an arc shape cut 122 to facilitate consumption of a food item as described further below.

Edges 105, 115, 125, 135, 145, 155, 165, 175, 180, and 185 are foldable. As shown, apron 50 is connected to mid section 40 through the foldable edge 175. Apron 50 is not connected to any other parts of the food holder 100. Specifically, edges 142 and 144 between apron 50 and mid section 40 are cut to facilitate separation of the apron and the mid section during assembly. Similarly, the edges between apron 50 and flaps 90 and 80 as well the edges between apron 50 and side panels 70 and 60 are cut to facilitate assembly of the food tray 100.

In some embodiments, the apron has several folds (or crease lines) 152 to make the apron more flexible and to facilitate the use of the food holder as described below. Also, in some embodiments, apron 50 has a notch 154 to facilitate positioning the apron under the chin of a consumer as described below. Furthermore, flaps 95 and 97 are optional in some embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the food holder of some embodiments. In order to assemble the smart tray, side panel 10 and flaps 90 and 80 are folded (as shown by arrows A, B, and C) over edges 155, 125, and 135 respectively. Side panel 10 and flaps 90 and 80 are folded at an approximate angle of 90 degrees with panels 20, 70, and 60 respectively.

Next, back panel 20 is folded over edge 145 at an approximate angle of 90 degrees with the side panel 30. This fold brings side panel 10 in a plane that is approximately parallel to the back panel 30. Next, side panels 70 and 60 are folded over edges 105 and 115 respectively. Side panels 70 and 60 are folded to an approximate angle of 90 degrees with the side panel 30. Next, flaps 95 and 97 are folded over edges 180 and 185 respectively. These folds bring flaps 95 and 97 in touch with the back panel 20.

FIG. 3 illustrates another perspective view of the food tray after the side panels are folded. As shown, flaps 80 and 90 are located on the outside of side panel 10. In some embodiments, flaps 80 and 90 are glued to side panel 1. In some embodiments, flaps 95 and 97 (shown in FIG. 5) are glued to back panel 20. After folding is completed, panels 10, 20, 30, 60, and 70 create a cavity or holding receptacle 310 for holding a food item. Flaps 80, 90, 95, and 97 would be on the outside of the receptacle (as opposed to the food item that would be located inside the receptacle). FIG. 4 illustrates the food holder of some embodiments with a food item 410 inserted in the food receptacle.

To facilitate transportation of the food holder from an assembly location to a fast food place or restaurant, the food holders are stacked up by placing a food holder on top of another food holder in a way that the holding receptacle 310 of the top food holder is inserted inside the holding receptacle of the bottom food holder. In some embodiments, some of the side panels 10, 30, 70 and 80 form angles that are wider than 90 degrees (e.g, 100, 105, 110 degrees, etc.) relative to the back panel to facilitate stacking up of the food holders.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate the food holder with a food item 510 inserted in it according to some embodiments of the invention. A consumer 520 can hold the food holder with either one or both hands. One way to hold the food holder by a right handed person is to place the index and/or the middle finger on panel 10 and the thumb on panel 30. In this position, panel 60 will be in the palm of the consumer. Similarly, one way to hold the food holder by a left handed person is to place the index and/or the middle finger on panel 10 and the thumb on panel 30. In this position, panel 70 will be in the palm of the consumer.

As can be appreciated from FIGS. 5 and 6, the food item does not touch the hand of the consumer 510. In some embodiments, the cut 122 on the back panel 20 allows a portion 124 of back panel 20 to be pushed inside against the food item 510. As the food item 510 is being eaten, the consumer 520 presses with the ring or small finger against back panel 20 to open portion 124 to push the food item toward the opening of the holding receptacle and the consumer mouth.

Furthermore, as shown, the apron 50 is located below the chin and cheeks of the consumer so as to prevent the food pieces from spilling onto the consumer dress and body. Since apron 50 is connected to the rest of the food holder only through edge 175, the consumer can easily move his or her hand up and down without removing the apron from under the chin. Also, folds 152 cause flexibility in the apron while the food item is being eaten.

The holding receptacle can be adapted to hold any food items such as burgers, sandwiches, pita sandwiches, wraps, hot dogs, tacos, burritos, etc. For instance, FIG. 7 illustrates the food holder according to another embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, the holding receptacle forms a cylindrical shape for holding a food item such as a hot dog or any bread or tortilla rolled or folded around a filling such as a burrito. In this embodiment, the receptacle is formed by rolling the side 705 over 710 and gluing them together.

A person of ordinary skill in the art would realize that the holding receptacle can be shaped in other forms to hold different kind of food items. For instance, in some embodiments the holding receptacle can have a V shape to hold a food item such as a taco. In these embodiments, the two side panels 70 and 80 form angles that are wider than 90 degrees (e.g., 100, 120, 140 degrees, etc.) relative to the back panel to form a V shape receptacle.

Food holder can be made of any flexible material such as regular cardboard, grease resistances cardboard, recycled cardboard, plastic, hard paper, carton, or similar items. In some embodiments, the foldable lines (such as line 155) are hinge scored or creased to facilitate folding of the panels and flaps against each other. In some embodiments, where the food holder is made of plastic, Styrofoam, or the like, the food holder is not assembled by folding and gluing as described above. Instead, the food holder may be made through an injection molding or vacuum forming process. The food holder can be advantageously used in restaurants to dispense sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, burritos, tacos, pita sandwiches, submarine, and the like.

While the invention has been described with reference to numerous specific details, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the invention can be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit of the invention. Thus, one of ordinary skill in the art would understand that the invention is not to be limited by the foregoing illustrative details, but rather is to be defined by the appended claims.