Meet Japanese Companies with Quality
3D Design That Expands Packaging Possibilities Pattruss Inc.
Website: Pattruss Inc.
Category: Japanese Machinery
A new take on an old design
Agricultural producer Norio Goto had a problem. He needed a better way to pack baby leaf lettuce and other perishable salad greens. Standard plastic bags left them susceptible to wilting and being crushed during transport. So in 2007 Goto came up with a solution: sealing the bags to form a tetrahedral package.
It wasn't the first time a tetrahedral was used in package design. Goto recalls a Swedish company that used cardboard versions for boxed milk. Yet he was the first to adapt the concept to plastic film and for fresh vegetables, and he received a Good Design Award for his patented product. Goto started up Pattruss Inc. in 2011 to focus on design and extend his packaging's applications beyond vegetables.
More capacity and shelf life; less expense and trash
The advantages of a tetrahedral package are numerous, but the biggest are: longer shelf life, reduced weight, increased capacity, less waste and less cost - all while still maintaining durability. For leaf vegetables, the truss-like design uses modified atmosphere (MA), a method of injecting gas to allow the greens to "breathe." A bag of baby leaf lettuce can last up to one week rather than the three to four days possible with regular bags.
Compared to stiff plastic cases, Goto says his design uses an eighth of the space for the same amount of product at nearly one-fifth the cost, and compacts better for disposal. The tetrahedral not only protects the contents inside, it also pulls apart easily to form a boat-like tray. Goto points out how this provides convenience and helps reduce waste by eliminating the need for disposable plates or other containers.
Customer needs are central
Customer feedback is an important aspect of Pattruss' product development. A customer once requested the addition of a plastic zipper to make the bag resealable, which Goto initially considered unnecessary. He finally relented and the product, the Pattruss Z, went on to become popular with customers and even received the Innovation Award from Berlin's Fruit Logistica exhibition. "Regardless of what I think is a good or bad design, ultimately it's the customer and their needs that matter," says Goto. Also, the company holds a business style of providing packaging containers and sealing machines together as a total. This unique packaging has been developed to satisfy the customer's needs.
Adoption in Japanese convenience stores
A large convenience store chain in Japan has already adopted his tetrahedral package design for packs of fresh edamame (beans) and also fried chicken, with talk of expanding to other snack foods as well. After securing patents in countries around the world, Goto's product is also being used in the Netherlands, Cyprus, Korea and Taiwan, as well as in the US.
A smarter way to package
It takes time for companies to retool and adjust to new packaging techniques, but Goto says many more applications of his product are in development and expects products will be on the market within the next four to five years. Ultimately, Goto sees his tetrahedral offering businesses and consumers a smarter way to think about packaging.
Website: Pattruss Inc.