A monthly look at some of the hits and misses in the packaging world from the viewpoint of Joe Public, Canadian Packaging magazine’s revolving columnists. From the April 2017 issue.
May 17, 2017
by Jaan Koel
Disappearing socks while doing laundry is one of life’s great mysteries that defy logical explanations. In my household, this strange phenomena has somehow resurfaced in recent years in my kitchen, where a whole bunch of lids for my cooking pots mysteriously disappeared one after another, leaving yours truly perplexed to the point of utter disbelief. Highly reluctant to buy a new set of pots just for the sake of getting the cover lids they come with, I was happy to find a practical affordable alternative on a recent visit to the neighborhood Kitchen Plus retail outlet, which convinced me that I can’t be the only person on earth haunted by this puzzling repeated vanishing act. Distributed by CTG Brands Inc., the Luciano Gourmet line of silicone pot lids so far seem to do every bit as good a job as the original glass covers they have replaced in my kitchen—not only for cooking, but also for keeping any food leftovers fresh in my fridge, while providing an effective moisture and odor barrier inside. Held in place at the store’s accessories display rack with an attractive peg-holed paperboard sleeve, the variable-sized lids are offered in earthy shades of green, orange, white and blue colors to liven things up on the kitchen stove with a little artistic flair and sensible color-coding to help match the lids with the proper pot sizes. In the larger scheme of domestic life and bliss, I believe these food-grade BPA (Bisphenol A)-free lids provide a powerful testimonial to the timeless practicality of silicone, which enables the manufacture of countless useful practical products to make our modern lives easier, including sealants, and adhesives, lubricants, medicine, cooking utensils, thermal and electrical insulation, and so on. Invented in 1902, this heat-resistant, rubber-like compound doesn’t often get the respect it deserves among the majority of consumer masses, but there’s no such oversight in my kitchen now.
For all that, I probably can’t hold the candle to Crazy Aaron, the charmingly geeky brand icon displayed on the Crazy Aaron’s kits of Thinking Putty that glows in the dark, does not dry out, and offers a much broader range of playful possibilities than you would get with the traditional old-school Silly Putty brand products. Offered in at least 40 different versions—including Glow in the darks; UV reactive phantoms, Color shifters; Super magnetics, and Heat sensitive hyper colors—the silicone-based putties are packed in colorful branded round mint tins encased inside die-cut and peg-holed paperboard sleeves bearing a smiling Crazy Aaron caricature just beneath the hanging peg-hole at the top. The company also provides an attractive stand-alone retail display unit complete with a built-in video show and product samples that you can dig your fingers into and check out the limits of your creativity on the spot. So is this Crazy Aaron guy for real? You bet. According to his website, “I am an honest-to-goodness, living, breathing person and I do bear an eerie resemblance to our company logo.” I honestly can’t say if that in itself is good or bad for Aaron—you be the judge!—but there is no denying the considerable buzz this little package has generated in the marketplace. Since its initial product lunch in the late 1990s, the Crazy Aaron’s products have won numerous children’s toy awards from the likes of American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Learning Express and Mr. Dad, among many others.
Microwaveable, dishwashable and also BPA-free, the M-Cuisine Microwave brand egg poacher from the U.K.-based kitchenware innovators Joseph Joseph Ltd. is a cleverly design contraption that takes out the formidable fear factor encountered whenever an inexperienced home chef decides to put a raw egg into the microwave. Leaving nothing to chance, the poacher comes fully-equipped with lift-and-drain colanders and a cool integrated egg cracker that peeks through a clever cutaway in the tastefully printed paperboard sleeve holding the entire package together. For egg-lovers wanting to give their frying pan a break now and then, this ingenious little device punches well above its tiny weight during the most important meal of the day.
Different people have different takes on the ongoing selfie-mania craze, but to give credit where credit is due, kudos to Kikkerland Design Inc. for managing to fit their foldable Mini Selfie Stick tripods, which stretches out to 94 centimeters at full length, inside an eye-catching, compact 20-cm-long paperboard shelf hanger taking up minimal space on your travels. Offered in both iPhone– and Android-compatible versions, it comes with a handy computer panel printed on the back that allows you to double-check compatibility with your specific phone prior to purchases. Using the contraption is simplicity itself: Just place it snugly into the spring-loaded plastic holder; plug it into the earphone jack; aim; and press the button to capture an image of yourself against a spectacular waterfall or mountain-range backdrop to share with the world on social media. Batteries not required.
Jaan Koel is freelance writer living in Toronto.
Image at top of article purchased via www.fotolia.com.