Investigating reuse opportunities of consumer dairy product packaging; a design directed, user-centred investigation.
Jeffery, Joshua Lee
This dissertation examines forms of dairy product packaging that is to be found in most households. This packaging is intended for consumer use and is typically used once. Such packaging is implicitly designed to serve this single use and then to either be consigned to landfill, or recycled. Despite this, as studies in this dissertation note, such packaging is often diverted to a multitude of other uses in the household such as; storing frozen food, lunch boxes, raise seedlings, collect compost, craft activities, holding various things around the garage and the like. In this dissertation, a range of definitions related to sustainability are examined, as well as relevant approaches to its measurement and application. From this, a ‘Human Centred’ design stage utilises a combination of individual observation, education, comparison, and interview studies, adapted from IDEO (2003). Specifically, this includes; ‘Supermarket Pilot Study’ that assessed current packaging types, uses, form, function, aesthetics, and materials; ‘Fonterra Consumer Brands’ that assisted in refining scope and identifying associated brands and related products; ‘User Observations’ that helped understand consumption, storage, and end-life packaging behaviours; ‘User Interviews’ that identify perspectives, behaviours, needs, wants, and preferences; ‘Party Plan for Polymer Based Packaging Solutions’ to understand an existing range of popular products and the experience they provide; and a ‘Competitive Product Survey’ to identify and compare solutions currently available in the market. Following a review of the key insights identified from these studies, a ‘Systems Architecture’ was articulated that set the brief for the subsequent development of alternative packaging concepts and elements that could be incorporated into Fonterra’s Tip Top 2 litre and Fresh ‘n’ Fruity 1 litre product ranges. This product design phase focused on developing innovative lid attachments that enabled the packaging to have multiple reuses in the domestic kitchen for storing wet and dry, and fresh and frozen foods. A study of potential seals tested a range of existing storage solutions against an evaluation criteria that was based on key values important to users. Two seals from the six developed warranted further exploration with a flat inner surface found to be the preferred location for a silicon-based wiper styled seal. A subsequent design stage developed the following six concepts that utilised this seal; Band Adaptor, Flexible Pull Tab, Flex Band, Vacuum Seal, Folding Band, and Squeeze Band. Each concept was evaluated, and following this, a seventh then eighth concept – the Corner Tab and Flex Corner – was produced. The innovative undercut feature discovered during this process identified a means to secure and seal a lid attachment in a single movement. The completion of this Industrial Design stage of research led to eight other supporting features also being developed. These ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ concepts explored a suite of possibilities for the identification and removal of branding, efficient use of space and extended functionality. The ‘Human Centred’ approach adapted in this research was found to support the potential for Design to directly act as a method of research enquiry. A key conclusion was the identification of three of Rittel and Webber’s (1973) ten dimensions of Wicked Problems theory that have significant influence on Industrial Design processes.
Advisor: Abbott, Mick
Degree Name: Master of Design
Degree Discipline: Applied Science - Design Department
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: sustainability; packaging; design
Research Type: Thesis