Patent Watch

Quaker files patent on expandable microwave oatmeal pot

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Quaker has a line of microwaveable oatmeal pots under its Oats So Simple brand
Quaker has a line of microwaveable oatmeal pots under its Oats So Simple brand

Related tags: Microwave oven

Quaker has developed a pot that can be expanded ahead of microwaving, improving convenience for consumers and saving shipping costs for manufacturers.

The global patent covers a hinged pot that can be expanded upwards ahead of microwaving to avoid spillover – something manufacturers had been trying to tackle for some time.

Quaker said some companies had created pots with additional headspace space but these proved costly in shipping terms because of larger pots. Some companies had also opted for on-pack instructions to transfer the cereal into a bowl ahead of heating, it said, but this defeated the convenience aspect.

“Consequently, a need exists for a food product package that can be shipped with minimal headspace and expanded before being heating in a microwave oven,”​ Quaker wrote in its patent filing.

‘Simple and inexpensive’

Quaker patent drawing
Quaker patent drawing

Quaker said the hinged, expandable pot design was “relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture”.

The internal hinges worked between the inner and outer sidewalls of the pot, it said, expanding the package upwards and slightly outwards.

“This arrangement allows for the most height-efficient package possible because the package can be expanded to an expanded configuration that is approximately three times the height of the collapsed configuration, and has a substantially increased interior volume.”

Quaker said there were several advantages to the design.

“The reduced packaging density allows more food product and food packages to be stored and shopped in a given volume. This reduces per unit shipping costs, and reduces the amount of space the package occupies in commercial warehouses, store shelves, and consumer pantries.”

It said this also helped shelf life because of a reduced amount of gas inside the pot.

In addition, Quaker said the design made a convenient pot for consumers, enabling them to easily expand the package ahead of heating and consumption.

 

Source: WIPO Publication No. WO/2015/054402
Published: April 16, 2015. Filed: October 8, 2014
“Expandable food package with lid”
Authors: The Quaker Oats Company – ET. Henderson and JJ. Maki

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