SA ingenuity: Stop crying over spilt milk
The injection-moulded Clip It sachet jug has been designed to hold a litre milk sachet securely and at the exact angle needed for mess-free pouring. Penny Haw talks to designer Desere Strydom, whose award-winning Clip It jug for milk sachets was born of her desire to continue saving money without the mess and spilt milk.
Forget necessity: frustration is the mother of invention. But it is also a mother of a job to go from good idea to great product. This is one woman’s story, which began with frustration, moved on to fortitude and fabrication, and ended in product design, development and dispatch to retail outlets far and wide.
Early one morning in 2001, Durban clothing designer Desere Strydom (pictured) finally resolved to stop crying over spilt milk. For the umpteenth time that week, she had watched milk splash on to the kitchen counter as she decanted the liquid from a litre sachet into a small jug for breakfast.
Setting irritation aside, she decided there had to be a way of benefiting from the more cost-effective packaging option milk sold in sachets is up to R2 cheaper per litre than milk sold in plastic bottles or cartons without the mess and wastage.
”I was determined to save money by buying milk in sachets,” she recalls. ”But, being analytical, I calculated the waste incurred each year due to spilling (because of the flimsy, collapsible nature of the plastic bags) and was horrified. Something had to be done.”
Strydom, who says she has always been a bit of a ‘tool chick’, dug out the toolbox and began modifying the basic plastic jug, which she and her family used at the time more or less effectively to store sachets in the refrigerator. A handful of nuts, bolts and plastic bits later, she had assembled what would eventually become the prototype of the award-winning Clip It milk sachet jug
But it did not, at that point, occur to Strydom that she had constructed something with commercial promise or value beyond her own home. ”It was simply for convenient use by my family,” she says. ”But every time I took the contraption out of the fridge in company, it drew comments and admiration.”
Increasingly, she acknowledged that if she and her family found the device so handy, others would too. Eventually, at the insistence of friends and family, Strydom consulted patent attorneys Adams & Adams, who patented the concept on her behalf.
“I realised at that early stage that, if I was going to do it, it would be best to do it right, deal with professionals and not cut corners,” she says.
Adams & Adams specialise in patents and took care of everything in that regard.
Determined to get every step of the process right first time, she then approached Durban company Sumo Design to help rationalise and streamline the product. A key consideration at this stage was to ensure that the product could be produced at a cost that would be easily covered by the sensible potential market price of the finished product. Manufacturing techniques and materials were also examined and tested. . .
UK: Another program to promote the milk bag and jug format
Dairy Crest and Sainsbury’s are putting their full marketing weight behind milk bags and jugs – confident that now is the time for the format to take root in the UK. Sainsbury’s claims that the Jugit system reduces packaging waste by 75% compared to the poly bottle.
While Sainsbury’s is enthusiastic about the potential of the milk bag and jug combination, rival UK supermarket Waitrose recently withdrew the system from its shelves before the modifications were made citing poor demand. Dairy Reporter. Read more
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