Article for storing and dispensing food
An article of manufacture for storing and dispensing perishable foods that prolongs product life and encourages portion control by dividing bulk storage into multiple sealed compartments with each compartment having an easily removable closure that prevents exposure to the environment.
Not ApplicableSTATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
Not ApplicableDESCRIPTION OF THE ATTACHED APPENDIX
Not ApplicableBACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to the field of packaging food products and more specifically to an article of manufacture for storing and dispensing perishable foods in individually sealed compartments. Consumable solid food products such a dry cereal, crackers, seeds, and nuts are typically sold in sealed bulk containers where small portions are removed over a period of time. Once the seal is broken, resealing generally does not protect the product from oxidation, humidity, and insect invasion. For example, after opening a dry cereal box and pouring a bowl of cereal, customarily the paper liner is crumpled and the box top is folded closed. This closure does not prevent air and moisture from entering the box and deteriorating the cereal. This folded closure is no barrier to common cupboard insects that can crawl through cracks in the folds of the paper cereal box liner. Similarly, once a box of crackers is opened it is generally not possible to reseal the container adequately to protect the product from deterioration and contamination. Portion control has been a problem with bulk storage containers because the portion size is not easily determined without having access to a measuring device.
The invention also applies to liquid food products such as juices. For example, the manufacturer recommends that a can or bottle of tomato juice or prune juice should be refrigerated to prevent spoilage once the container is opened. With the invention, dispensing the contents of one compartment does not warrant refrigeration since the remaining compartments are sealed. This prolongs the shelf life of the product and prevents the need to refrigerate the container.
Single portion packaging of dry cereal, crackers, seeds, nuts, juices and other liquids is an option that provides for product freshness and achieves precise portion size but is accompanied by the inconvenience of having multiple individual boxes or packages to store. In addition, individual packaging is more costly per unit volume than larger quantities of the same product.BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The primary objective of the invention is to divide the contents of a container of consumable food into portions confined to individual compartments.
Another objective of the invention is to provide compartments that are easily opened.
Another objective of the invention is to provide for sealed compartments that prevent food from deteriorating due to exposure to the environment.
A further objective of the invention is to provide a seal to protect against the invasion of insects.
Yet another objective of the invention is to provide for portion control by clearly identifying the quantity of food in each portion.
Still yet another objective of the invention is to improve product life by maintaining freshness of the unopened portions by sealing the product from harmful environmental elements.
Other objectives and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following descriptions, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, there is disclosed an article of manufacture for storing and dispensing perishable foods comprising multiple sealed compartments having the major benefits of preserving freshness and sterility of the unopened portions which results in prolonging the shelf life of a given quantity of product over currently available bulk containers where the entire contents are exposed to the environment every time a portion is dispensed.
The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments to the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.
Detailed descriptions of the preferred embodiments are provided herein. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed system, structure or manner.
The invention is an article of manufacture for storing and dispensing perishable food products that improves the product life over bulk storage by maintaining unopened portions in multiple sealed compartments that are individually opened before dispensing. The seal that closes the compartments prevents exposure of the unused product to the oxygen and humidity of the environment that shortens life of the product and serves as an impermeable barrier to insects common to the kitchen cupboard. Portion size is determined by the volume of the individual compartments and the percent to which the compartment is filled with the food product. Caloric intake is easily managed by opening the number of compartments to fulfill the caloric limit. The food products that could be packaged in the multiple compartment containers include, but are not limited to, cereals, nuts, dried fruits and seeds. In
In prospective view,
Another embodiment is shown in
While the invention has been described in connection with a preferred embodiment, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular form set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
1. An article of manufacture for storing and dispensing perishable products comprising:
- a. multiple compartments,
- b. a seal for each of said compartments that prevents exposure to the environment; and
- c. means of individually opening each of said compartments,
- whereby portion control and product freshness are maintained by dividing bulk storage into sealed compartments.
2. An article of claim 1 where the product is a solid.
3. An article of claim 1 where the product is a liquid.
International Classification: B65D 51/00 (20060101); B65D 25/04 (20060101);