Title:
CONTAINER HAVING ROTATING LABEL WITH WINDOW
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container for food products including a receptacle having a sidewall and a bottom wall that define a container area that receives the food product, a lid removably coupled to said receptacle, and a label having a window for viewing information on an outside surface of the receptacle. The outside surface of the sidewall also includes printing thereon. The sidewall further includes at least one top embossment and at least one bottom embossment disposed thereon and the label is rotatably mounted upon the outside surface of the receptacle between the top embossment and the bottom embossment. The top embossment and the bottom embossment resist translation of the label with respect to the outside surface of the receptacle in a longitudinal direction. The label includes at least one window disposed thereon that allows a user to view a portion of the outside surface of the receptacle.



Inventors:
Pantelleria, Joseph A. (Overland Park, KS, US)
Application Number:
13/920531
Publication Date:
12/18/2014
Filing Date:
06/18/2013
Assignee:
HUHTAMAKI, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/415
International Classes:
B65B15/00; B65D25/00; B65D43/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (KANSAS CITY, MO, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A container for food products comprising: a receptacle having a sidewall and a bottom wall that define a container area, said container area configured to receive the food product wherein said sidewall includes an outside surface that includes at least one top embossment and at least one bottom embossment; a lid removably coupled to said receptacle; a label rotatably mounted upon said outside surface of said receptacle between said at least one top embossment and said at least one bottom embossment wherein said at least one top embossment and said at least one bottom embossment resist translation of said label along said receptacle in a longitudinal direction; and a window disposed on said label such that a portion of said outside surface of said receptacle is visible.

2. The container of claim 1 wherein said at least one top embossment and said at least one top embossment substantially circumscribe said outer surface of said receptacle.

3. The container of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of top embossments radially distributed about a center of said receptacle.

4. The container of claim 3 wherein said sidewall includes a first top embossment that is a first distance from said top of said sidewall and a second top embossment that is a second distance from said top of said sidewall.

5. The container of claim 1 wherein said at least one top embossment includes an apex and said lid includes a skirt having a free end and wherein said apex is positioned at substantially the same position along a length of said receptacle as said free end of said skirt when said lid is removably coupled to said receptacle.

6. A method of manufacturing a container for food products comprising: forming a sidewall of a receptacle into a frustoconcial or cylindrical shape; coupling a bottom wall to said sidewall to form a container area; embossing said sidewall with at least one top embossment proximate a top of said sidewall and at least one bottom embossment proximate a bottom of said sidewall wherein said sidewalls substantially circumscribe an outside surface of said sidewall; mounting a label on said outside surface of said sidewall between said at least one top embossment and said at least one bottom embossment wherein said label rotates about said sidewall and said embossments resist longitudinal movement of said label relative to said sidewall; and removably coupling a lid to enclose said container area.

7. The method of manufacturing a container for food products of claim 6 further comprising embossing said sidewall with a plurality of top embossments proximate said top of said sidewall wherein said top embossments are radially distributed around said outside surface of said sidewall.

8. The method of manufacturing a container for food products of claim 7 wherein a first top embossment is at a first distance from said top of said sidewall and a second top embossment is at a second distance from said top of said sidewall.

9. The method of manufacturing a container for food products of claim 6 wherein said at least one top embossment includes an apex and said lid includes a skirt having a free end and wherein said apex is positioned at substantially the same position along a length of said receptacle as said free end of said skirt when said lid is removably coupled to said receptacle.

10. A container for food products comprising: a receptacle having a frustoconical or cylindrical sidewall and a bottom wall coupled to said sidewall wherein said sidewall and said bottom wall define a container area, said container area configured to receive the food product, and wherein said sidewall further includes a peripheral lip proximate a top of said sidewall and an outside surface having at least one substantially linear top embossment and at least one substantially linear bottom embossment wherein said embossments are substantially perpendicular to a longitudinal direction of said sidewall; a lid removably coupled to said receptacle to enclose said container area wherein said lid includes a skirt coupled to a top wall at an intersection point wherein said skirt further includes a shoulder that engages said peripheral lip of said receptacle when said lid is coupled thereto and wherein said skirt includes a free end; a label rotatably mounted upon said outside surface of said receptacle between said at least one top embossment and said at least one bottom embossment wherein said at least one top embossment and said at least one bottom embossment resist translation of said label along said receptacle in a longitudinal direction and wherein said at least one top embossment includes an apex located at substantially the same distance along a length of said receptacle as said free end of said skirt when said lid is removably coupled to said receptacle; and a window disposed on said label such that a portion of said outside surface of said receptacle is visible.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Food containers with removable lids are well known in the industry. Such containers will typically comprise a container bottom or receptacle having a container area therein for the storage of a food product. The container receptacle will typically have a sidewall, a bottom wall and an upwardly opening top defined by a peripheral lip. A lid is removably mounted to the receptacle at the open end to selectively close the container opening. The lid may be semi-permanently secured to the receptacle or may be easily removably mounted to the receptacle as for example a friction fit or held in place by a snap lock fit. For some food products, a membrane closure can also be provided for hermetically sealing the container bottom and to provide tamper evidence should the container be opened prior to sale or even after sale. An overwrap may also be provided for the container, particularly those containers which have the lid easily removable, to help prevent tampering and accidental lid removal.

Containers with easily removable lids are typically used for ice cream, yogurt, margarine, sour cream, dips, sauces and the like. Another novel application is for the use of frozen food items such as chicken chunks, nuggets, or other individually frozen meat or seafood products or other similar single piece appetizers. In such case, the container bottom or receptacle is made from a material and by a method compatible with the product to be stored. Examples of such receptacles include a helically wrapped paperboard, a convolute wrapped construction, a polymeric container made by injection molding, thermoforming or vacuum forming. The lids may also be thermoformed or injection molded or may also be made out of paperboard or the like. Such containers are well known in the industry.

As these containers may have been previously used for ice cream, yogurt, margarine, sour cream, dips, sauces and the like, most frozen food items such as breaded chicken chunks, other meat or seafood products, or individual appetizer pieces are currently being sold in zippered, gusseted bags. The closures on these bags often come open or unknowingly come apart during storage subjecting the contents to freezer burn or other taste contamination. Moreover, the layout of the labeling and graphics on the bags are limited, particularly by the time all of the regulatory requirements for labeling of food products are met.

As consumers continually face decreases in meal preparation time and an ever increasing need to get the most food for their budgets, food providers are looking for ways to make the lives of their consumer's easier to make it more desirable to purchase their products. One way to do this is to provide additional suggested uses, recipes, or methods of preparation for their products beyond conventional knowledge. Therefore, it is desirable for food providers to have additional label area to allow a food provider to print more information on the label to communicate to consumers various preparation methods and a plurality of easy to make recipes that incorporate the product.

Another way to appeal to customers is to provide a storage container that preserves the taste and freshness of frozen foodstuffs so that consumers are provided a good tasting food item whether the food item is prepared when the package is first opened or after it has been stored in the freezer. Particularly with breaded items, a significant portion of the taste is in the breading and conventional bags do not protect the food item during transport. Therefore, the breading is often knocked off the product during transport or handling. Further conventional bags do not provide a reliable seal and the zipper bags may come apart. Therefore, there is a need in the art for a container that improvingly protects the flavor and freshness of a frozen food items.

Thus, there is a need in the art for a container to store a frozen food product to better preserve the taste and quality of the food product and there is a further need for such a container that also maximizes the printable area and the ability for the food provider to convey information and suggested uses to the end consumer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention involves the provision of a closeable food container having a storage container area forming a can-shaped receptacle with an opening to provide access to the stored contents. Such closeable food container includes a sidewall, a bottom wall and an upwardly opening top defined by a peripheral lip. The sidewall includes an exterior face that includes printed information on at least a portion of the exterior face. A rotatable label is rotatably mounted on the exterior surface of the sidewall. The rotatable label is wrapped around the exterior surface of the container. The sidewall includes at least one substantially linear top embossment and at least one substantially linear bottom embossment that resists the outer label from translating longitudinally along the container. The rotatable label includes at least one transparent or cut-out window that allows the consumer to view information printed on the exterior surface of the container's sidewall. The rotatable label also includes information printed on its exterior surface and thereby allows the food provider to increase the amount of product related information that may be conveyed to the consumer.

The container of the present invention also includes a removable lid having a downwardly extending skirt configured to engage the peripheral lip of the open top. One embodiment may include an inwardly extending shoulder that is configured to engage with the peripheral lip of the container to provide a catch for the lid so that it takes a measurable force to remove the lid from the container. Other lid configurations are known in the art and a person of skill in the art would recognize that these lid configurations are within the scope of the present invention.

The present invention also involves the provision of a process for manufacturing a food container including a lid and container bottom. The substantially cylindrical sidewall is formed in a convolute wrap with a rolled upper rim and the bottom of the container is added thereto. Further, the lid is suitably formed. Top and bottom embossments are formed in the sidewall of the container and the outer label is rotatably mounted adjacent to the exterior surface of the container's sidewall. The lid is removably mounted to the container after the contents of the container are placed therein. The lid may be formed to provide a depending skirt to help secure the lid to the container.

Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawing figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

The accompanying drawings form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith, in which like reference numerals are employed to indicate like or similar parts in the various views, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded front view of a container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section view of the container shown in FIG. 1 taken generally along line 3-3 in the direction of the arrows; and

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of a label of a container in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following detailed description of the invention references the accompanying drawing figures that illustrate specific embodiments in which the invention can be practiced. In the drawing figures, like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout. For purposes of clarity in illustrating the characteristics of the present invention, proportional relationships of the elements have not necessarily been maintained in the drawing figures.

The present invention is directed toward a container 10 for food products comprising a receptacle 12, a rotatable sleeve label designated generally 14, and a lid designated generally 16. As shown in FIG. 1, receptacle 12 is shown as having a cylindrical can-shape and having a sidewall 18, a bottom wall 20 at a base portion 22 and an open mouth 24. The open mouth 24 includes an opening 26 defined about its perimeter by a lipped upper portion 28 of receptacle 12. FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of sidewall 18 formed by the convolute wrapping of same so that a first end 30 and a second end 32 overlap to form a side seam 38. FIG. 3 shows sidewall 18 having an inside surface 34 and an outside surface 36, as well as sidewall 18 and bottom wall 20 defining a container area 40 for the storage of a food product such as ice cream, yogurt, cereal, desserts, breaded meat products, individual frozen appetizers, or the like.

The outside surface 36 of sidewall 18 may have indicia such as the name of the product, the brand name, labeling information, suggested uses, recipes, preparation instructions, other product information, and other graphics and/or trade dress printed thereon. One embodiment of receptacle 12 is advantageous because the indicia may be printed on outside surface 36 of a flat piece of paperboard and then receptacle 12 may be formed thereafter. Printing flat paperboard is significantly more cost efficient than printing on a three-dimensional cylinder thereby resulting in significant cost reductions in the manufacturing of container 10.

Receptacle 12 may be suitably formed of a suitable material for example a plastic coated paperboard in the event the contents will contain components that could migrate into the paperboard such liquids, e.g., water and/or lipids, e.g., fats and oils. A conventional bottom seal 42 (either hot melt or sonic weld) at the junction between the bottom 20 and sidewall 18 in the container area 40 results in a substantially leak-resistant container.

FIG. 3 further illustrates an embodiment that includes that an outwardly rolled lip 46 located at the upper portion 28 of receptacle 12 to strengthen sidewall 18 at open mouth 24 and to help secure lid 16 to receptacle 12. Receptacle 12 having substantially similar appearance and features described above may alternatively be thermoformed, vacuum formed or injection molded from a polymeric material if desired. Receptacle 12 may be any material now known or hereafter used in the art; including, plastic, polyethylene, other polymers, paperboard, cardboard, vellum paper, laminated paper, and waxed paper.

As shown in FIG. 1, sidewall 18 further includes at least one substantially linear top embossment 50 and at least one substantially linear bottom embossment 52. Embossments 50 and 52 are generally a slightly raised portion of the outside surface 36 of sidewall 18 and one embodiment may also include a corresponding depression on inside surface 34 of sidewall 18 as illustrated in FIG. 3. Embossments 50 and 52 may include an apex 80 that substantially corresponds to the high point of embossments 50 and 52. The at least one top and bottom embossments 50 and 52 generally substantially circumscribe sidewall 18 and are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of receptacle 12 as shown. FIG. 2 illustrates an alternative embodiment including a plurality of spaced apart top embossments 50a and 50b that are radially distributed about the center of the container area. The top embossments 50a and 50b may be equally spaced or randomly distributed around the exterior surface 36 of sidewall 18. The at least one bottom embossment 52 may be configured similarly to at least one top embossment 50 in all embodiments as described above.

Lid 16 is preferably molded from a polymeric material. A preferred molding method is injection molding however, thermoforming or vacuum forming may also be used if desired. Lid 16 may also be formed from paperboard, cardboard, wax paper, any other material now known or hereafter developed in the art, or any combination thereof using any method now known or hereafter developed. As best shown in FIG. 3, lid 16 includes a skirt 54 connected to a top wall 56 at an intersection 58 and skirt 54 further includes a free end 82 opposite intersection 58. Skirt 54 includes an inside surface 60 and an outside surface 62. The inside surface 60 of skirt 54 engages rolled lip 46 at upper portion 28. A shoulder 64 may be provided on the inside surface 60 of skirt 54 to catch under rolled lip 46 to help secure lid 16 to receptacle 12 when lid 16 is in a closed position. This results in a configuration where a measurable force is required to remove lid 16 from receptacle 12 when shoulder 64 is engaged with extending lip 46. One embodiment of receptacle 12 and lid 16 includes the measurable force being greater than the weight of lid 16 and the contents of receptacle 12.

As shown in FIG. 4, rotatable label 14 includes a first end 66, a second end 68, a top edge 70, a bottom edge 72, an inner surface 74 and an outer surface 76. Rotatable label 14 further includes window 78. Window 78 may be a portion of rotatable label 14 that is transparent or that is cut-out of label 14. Window 78 is configured to allow a consumer to see through label 14 to view indicia printed on a portion of outside surface 36 of receptacle 12. In one embodiment, first end 66 and second end 68 of label 14 overlap in order to form a tubular shape. However, any method now known or hereafter developed of constructing a label resulting in a tubular shape is within the scope of the present invention.

The dimensions of the tubular shape is configured to be complimentary to the shape of receptacle 12 such that rotatable label 14 slides over and may be rotated about outside surface 36 of receptacle 12. First end 66 and second end 68 may be coupled through any coupling method known in the art, including: adhesives, crimping, staples, rivets, male-female connectors, pins, or any other method now known or hereafter developed. Rotatable label 14 may be any material now known or hereafter used in the art; including, plastic, polyethylene, other polymers, paperboard, cardboard, vellum paper, laminated paper, and waxed paper. The outer surface 76 of rotatable label 14 may also have indicia such as the name of the product, the brand name, labeling information, suggested uses, recipes, preparation instructions, other product information, and other graphics and/or trade dress printed thereon. The indicia on outer surface 76 of rotatable label 14 may be configured to be used in concert with the indicia on outer surface 36 of receptacle 12. For example, window 78 may be sized to correspond with a plurality of distinct printed areas on outer surface 36 such that a recipe using the food product may be printed on outer surface 36 and can be viewed through window at one location and thereafter, nutritional information printed on outer surface 36 can be viewed through window 78 simply by rotating label 14.

As shown in FIG. 3, one embodiment of container 10 of the present invention includes apex 80 of at least one top embossment 50 being located at substantially the same distance from radially extending lip 46 as free end 82 of skirt 54 along sidewall 18 when the lid is in closed position on receptacle 12. This embodiment of the positioning of at least one top embossment 50 resists label 14 from sliding toward rolled lip 46 to prevent any indicia proximate top edge 70 of rotatable label 14 from being hidden by skirt 54 of lid 16. Another embodiment, shown in FIG. 2, includes a plurality of top embossments 50a and 50b that have a stepped configuration with top embossments 50a and 50b located in at least two different positions along the longitudinal direction of receptacle 12. Thus, in this embodiment, at least one top embossment 50b further prevents rotatable label from becoming bound up or prevented from rotating around receptacle 12 by being pinched between outside surface 36 and rolled lip 46 of sidewall 18.

The present invention may be better understood by a description of the method of manufacture. Receptacles 12 may be suitable formed as by suitably wrapping paperboard or by molding. Generally, the forms of receptacles 12 are printed, cut-out and constructed in a facility separate from the food manufacturing area as for example at a separate manufacturing facility. Forms of receptacle 12 may also be printed and cut-out at a large container manufacturing center and shipped flat to the food manufacturing facility where they are assembled on-site thereby increasing shipping efficiency. At least one top embossment 50a and at least one bottom embossment 52 are formed on sidewall 18 either before, during, or after receptacle 12 is formed. Embossments 50 and 52 may be formed through any embossing method known or hereafter developed.

Embossing methods may include sidewall 18 being embossed in a flat form by known techniques by scoring sidewall 18 against a counter with a steel rule (not shown) when sidewall 18 is die-cut from a sheet. The steel rule forces the sidewall material into a groove in a counter (not shown) on the opposite side of the sheet material thereby creating the embossment. In this case, the steel rule is on the back side (inside surface 34 of sidewall 18) and the counter is located on the top side (print side or outside surface 36) of sidewall 18 so that steel rule forms the embossments 50 and 52 outward toward the print side. In another possible embodiment, sidewall 18 can be scored by a tool (not shown) that is inserted and actuated inside the finished container 10. In this embodiment, the embossments 50 and 52 are made after sidewall 18 and bottom 20 are formed, either before or after rolled lip 46 is formed. The tool may comprise an embossing wheel that engages sidewall 18 from the inside as the tool is turned. The embossing wheel engages inside surface 34 of sidewall 18 forming it outward against a counter groove that extends around at least a portion of the perimeter of container 10. Further, when receptacle 12 is molded or formed plastic, top embossments 50 and bottom embossment 52 may be formed into sidewall 18 during the molding process.

After receptacle 12 is formed and at least one top embossment 50 and at least one bottom embossment 52 are formed on sidewall 18, rotatable label 14 is rotatably mounted upon receptacle 12. Rotatable label 14 may be mounted upon receptacle 12 by any method now known or hereafter developed in the art, including: wrapped around receptacle on a label wrapping machine, a pre-formed label slid over bottom portion 22 of receptacle 12 and onto outside surface 36 as shown in FIG. 2, or receptacle 12 slid through a opening created in the tubular label 14. As shown in FIG. 1, rotatable label 14 is mounted upon receptacle 12 between at least one top embossment 50 and at least one bottom embossment 52 such that top edge 70 is proximate at least one top embossment 50 and bottom edge 72 is proximate at least one bottom embossment 52. Rotatable label 14 is free to rotate about outside surface 36 of receptacle 12 such that indicia printed on outside surface 36 of receptacle 12 is viewable through window 78.

Receptacles 12 are fed along a filling line and product is deposited within the container area 18. Generally, the product is deposited by weight in a suitable manner. Preferably, lid 16 is injection molded wherein the outside surface 62 of the skirt 54 is generally cylindrical and the top wall 56 is similarly circular. Shoulders 64 may also be formed on inside surface 60 of skirt 54 during the molding process. Lid 16 is thus preferably an integrally molded single piece unit. Lid 16 is then removably coupled to receptacle 12 of filled container 10 at the food manufacturing plant after receptacle 12 is filled with food product.

From the foregoing, it may be seen that the container of the present invention is particularly well suited for the proposed usages thereof. Furthermore, since certain changes may be made in the above invention without departing from the scope hereof, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. It is also to be understood that the following claims are to cover certain generic and specific features described herein.