Title:
Integrated food and condiment holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An integrated food and condiment holder having at least one condiment holder attached to a side of the integrated food and condiment holder. The condiment extends from the side of the integrated food and condiment holder when in use. When not in use, the condiment holder is collapsible such that one integrated food and condiment holder may be stacked with another one for storage.



Inventors:
Lanou, John Holcombe (Washington, DC, US)
Application Number:
12/283403
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/23.83
International Classes:
B65D21/02; A47G19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John HR Lanou (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An integrated food and condiment holder, comprising: a. a container for holding one or more items of food, the container having at least one side, each of the at least one sides being defined by a plane and b. at least one condiment holder for holding one or more condiment, the at least one condiment holder affixed to the at least one side of the container, wherein the at least one condiment holder is collapsible along at least one fold line such that the at least one condiment holder is able to lie level with the plane of the at least one side of the container.

2. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 1 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of the container using an adhesive.

3. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 1 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of said container by being formed intergrally with the container.

4. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 1 wherein the container is able to be stacked flush with another of the container when the at least one condiment holder of both the container and the another of the container are collapsed.

5. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 4 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of the container using an adhesive.

6. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 4 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of said container by being formed intergrally with the container.

7. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 1 wherein the at least one condiment holder is able to be extended at an angle from the plane of the at least one side of the container.

8. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 7 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of the container using an adhesive.

9. The integrated food and condiment holder of claim 7 wherein the at least one condiment holder is affixed to said at least one side of said container by being formed intergrally with the container.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention pertains to the field of containers for holding food that is preferably served with condiments. Current food containers, such as for holding french fries, are typically formed to hold only the food item. Any condiments that a diner may wish to add to the food must be poured directly atop the food within the container, which may cause the food to become overly saturated with the condiment. Pouring the condiment over the food also prevents even distribution of the condiment over the entirety of the food within the container.

To avoid these problems, the diner may apply the condiment to the food as the diner consumes the food, e.g., by dipping. For efficient dipping, however, the diner is typically required to employ a separate container to hold the condiment. Handling multiple containers in this way is not only cumbersome—a diner is forced to use the pour method when driving, for example, because using several containers during such an activity is overly difficult and dangerous—but is also wasteful. In this day and age of environmental awareness and the need to conserve resources, the use of one container to hold both food and condiment would be extremely beneficial.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a container capable of holding both food and condiments all within one unit. Additionally, the present invention enables convenient storage of the container by employing a collapsible condiment holder such that the containers may be stacked. More specifically, the present invention is an integrated food and condiment holder, comprising a container for holding one or more items of food, the container having at least one side. Each of the at least one sides of the container is defined by a plane. The integrated food and condiment holder also includes at least one condiment holder for holding one or more condiments, which is affixed to the at least one side of the container either using an adhesive or by being formed integrally with the container. The condiment holder is collapsible along at least one fold line and, when the condiment holder is collapsed, the container is able to be stacked flush with another container. The condiment holder is also able to be extended at an angle from the plane of the at least one side of the container when the condiment holder is in use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of this invention, reference should now be had to the embodiment illustrated in greater detail in the accompanying drawings and described below by way of example of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a diagram showing an integrated food and condiment holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing a side view of an integrated food and condiment holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention with a condiment holder in collapsed position.

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing a side view of an integrated food and condiment holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention with a condiment holder in extended position.

FIG. 4a is a diagram showing a top view of an integrated food and condiment holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention with a condiment holder in extended position.

FIG. 4b is a diagram showing a top view of an integrated food and condiment holder in accordance with an embodiment of the invention with a condiment holder in collapsed position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED INVENTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an integrated food and condiment holder of the present invention. Integrated food and condiment holder 10 includes a condiment holder 20. Condiment holder 20 has a front side 22, a side 24, a bottom side 26, and a back side 28. Condiment holder 20 may be in a box-like shape (as illustrated) such that it has two sides 24 or in a semi-circular shape such that side 24 is contiguous with front side 22. Alternatively, condiment holder 20 may be in a wedge configuration such that bottom side 26 does not extend away from integrated food and condiment holder 10 and is completely attached to integrated food and condiment holder 10.

Integrated food and condiment holder 10 is any conventional food container, e.g., french fry cups, popcorn containers, etc. Integrated food and condiment holder 10 may be formed in any configuration appropriate to the type of food being held. For example, integrated food and condiment holder 10 may be a cup, a flattened boat-like container (i.e., for holding fried chicken), or a non-rigid bag (i.e., for holding popcorn). The shape in which and/or material of which integrated food and condiment holder 10 may be made is limited only in that integrated food and condiment holder 10 have one or more sides extending from a base. It is noted that this configuration limitation is not important in that any container used to hold an item will typically consist of a base with one or more sides extending therefrom.

Condiment holder 20 is situated on a side of integrated food and condiment holder 10. Condiment holder 20 may be formed as a separate member from integrated food and condiment holder 10 and attached to the side of integrated food and condiment holder 10 along the back side 28 of condiment holder 20 using an adhesive. The type of adhesive which may be used is limited only in that it meets safety requirements concerning food service or storage. Likewise, condiment holder 20 may be formed from the same material as integrated food and condiment holder 10 or a separate material, the type of material limited only by safety requirements. Alternatively, condiment holder 20 may be formed as an integral part of integrated food and condiment holder 10 such that they are formed from a continuous piece of material and back side 28 is not a separate member from integrated food and condiment holder 10.

Integrated food and condiment holder 10 may include one or more of condiment holder 20. The arrangement of condiment holder 20 on integrated food and condiment holder 10 is limited only by the size and spatial dimensions of integrated food and condiment holder 10 and the one or more condiment holders 20. For example, if integrated food and condiment holder 10 is a cylindrical cup, one or more condiment holders 20 may be arranged around the circumference of integrated food and condiment holder 10. Condiment holders 20 may be spaced such that one is nearer to the base of integrated food and condiment holder 10 and one is nearer to the top of integrated food and condiment holder 10. Similarly, if integrated food and condiment holder 20 has a planar (i.e., flat) side, one or more condiment holders 20 may be arranged in an X-by-Y array (where X may equal Y), the size of the array limited only by the size of integrated food and condiment holder 10 and the condiment holders 20.

FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of integrated food and condiment holder 10 with condiment holder 20 in a collapsed position. (The term side view is used only to facilitated description of the operation of the present invention and is not used as a limitation as to the spatial arrangement of integrated food and condiment holder 10 and condiment holder 20). Integrated food and condiment holder 10 has one or more sides 30 defined by a plane 40 corresponding to each side 30. When not in use, condiment holder 20 is in a collapsed position, as shown in FIG. 2. In this collapsed position, condiment holder 20 lies against the side 30 of integrated food and condiment holder 10 such that the entire member comprising condiment holder 20 is level with plane 40. When condiment holder 20 is in a collapsed position, one integrated food and condiment holder 10 is able to be stacked flush with another integrated food and condiment holder 10, thus enabling convenient storage of multiple integrated food and condiment holders 10. Although it is not required that no part of condiment holder 20 extend from the side 30 of integrated food and condiment holder 10 when in a collapsed position, the amount which part of condiment holder 20 extends from the side 30 of integrated food and condiment holder 10 should be insignificant such that it does not interfere with the storage capability described above.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of integrated food and condiment holder 10 with condiment holder 20 in an extended position. When in use, condiment holder 20 extends from integrated food and condiment holder 10 such that it may be filled with a desired condiment or food topping. Condiment holder 20 may be used to hold any liquid or solid condiment or food topping that will fit within condiment holder 20, such as ketchup, mustard, relish, salt, pepper, etc. Condiment holder 20 extends from the side 30 of integrated food and condiment holder 10 at an angle α. The degree of angle α depends only on the size of integrated food and condiment holder 10 and the type of condiment to be held in condiment holder 20. For example, a smaller angle α may be used when condiment holder 20 is holding a liquid condiment (e.g., ketchup), while a solid condiment (e.g., relish) may require a larger angle α.

Condiment holder 20 extends from and collapsed onto integrated food and condiment holder 10 by way of fold line 50. Fold line 50 enables condiment holder 20 to be moved between a collapsed and extended position such that no special tools are required and that a minimum of force may be used. As seen in FIG. 4a, which shows a top view of integrated food and condiment holder 10, when in an extended position, condiment holder 20 has a bottom line 60, a back top line 70 and a front top line 80. (Bottom line 60 illustrates the top-down view of bottom side 26 as seen in FIG. 1). When in a collapsed position, as seen in FIG. 4b, back top line 70 and front top line 80 meet such that they form a single top line 90. Top line 90 lies parallel to bottom line 60 as defined by a plane parallel to plane 40 (FIG. 2). Ideally, top line 90 and bottom line 60 are parallel as defined by plane 40, itself, such that condiment holder 20 does not extend substantially from side 30 of integrated food and condiment holder 10 when in collapsed position.

In another embodiment of the present invention, condiment holder 20 collapses in an accordion-like configuration such that it folds along multiple fold lines rather than a single fold line. This accordion-like configuration enables condiment holder 20 to extend further away from side 30, i.e., extending radially away from integrated food and condiment holder 10 such that front side 22 lies in a plane separate from plane 40 and/or at an angle to side 30. Condiment holder 20 can then be collapsed along the various multiple fold lines when not in use such that integrated food and condiment holder 10 is able to be stacked and stored as described above.

While the present invention has been illustrated in some detail according to the preferred embodiment shown in the foregoing drawings and descriptions, it will be understood that the invention is not limited thereto, since modifications may be made by those skilled in the art, particularly in light of the foregoing teaching. It is therefore contemplated by the appended claims to cover such modifications that incorporate those features that come within the spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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