When I open a simple juice carton I fail on opening. I always seem to waste some of the concentrated juice on the kitchen sink and I wonder – do I do it wrong or is it the package that does not have a useful design?

juice package fail on opening

  • 5
    if the average juice-drinker can't open it... bad design. maybe their mgmt only drinks freshly-squeezed. – Jake Berger Mar 8 '12 at 22:36
  • Absolutely right, @jberger! The fundamental thing to do would be to test your product before release, or sell a handy tool to increase the after sales market. – Benny Skogberg Mar 9 '12 at 7:21

Cartons definitely need re-design. The case is being:

  1. Material - Cartons are light in weight to take the load against Tin cans which takes little bit of load and pressure.

  2. Load and Pressure - Cartons take pressure laterally and vertically, which pulls the juice out of it in rapid fashion. Lateral pressure comes in with your hand already placed on the carton walls at its center, and Vertical pressure comes in when the carton is teared upon, so as while the tearing ends, you naturally keep applying force to it laterally, as the juice comes out of the torn portion.

Solution towards this should be strengthen the material used or redesign taking the pressure fact into consideration.

Cartons as far as I seen are one with "tearable slot" as it is with tin cans, other way of cartons are one which are sealed and have or do not have "tearable slot", with tearable slots either at the top of the cartons or at the end of it - forming a triangle pattern.

  1. Best way to address this problem is that the Cartons should have a firm wall at the center, as you even though apply pressure, it does not affect the liquid inside it.

  2. Have a taller carton such as atleast 0.3-0.5% more than the carton's height to avoid the rush of liquid (here some extra investment is required for materials).

  3. Redesign the tearable slot.

As you also practice along, the spill can be avoided if you had to hold the top portion of the carton without applying more pressure, need to keep it on a surface (such as you can avoid the full force).The edges of the carton are little firm than the center portion.

  • Thanks, @inkmarble, a very good answer. I've thought of your second suggestion myself, which would make it more likely to keep the juice inside the carton while opening. – Benny Skogberg Mar 9 '12 at 9:20
  • 1
    Re suggestion number 2 maybe crisp (potato chip) packet designers decided to do the same thing without the benefit. All packets I've seen are about 300% bigger than needed. – George Duckett Mar 9 '12 at 12:20
  • True @GeorgeDuckett, but a little more space (not 300% but 3%) would just maybe do the trick?! – Benny Skogberg Mar 10 '12 at 8:59

The problem is that the seal needs to be good enough to keep the juice inside, throughout its journey to your fridge. At the same time, the opening process needs to be easy enough to tear by hand. In many cases, this balance is not reached, because it is too hard to open.

The process of manually opening a juice carton involves holding tight and tearing ( or cutting ). It is quite an aggressive action. In the process of making this hole in the packaging, there is a likelihood of the package shaking, spilling the juice.

Most of the more advanced methods - as Liam indicated - remove the need to grip the carton so tightly. But, of course, they cost a bit more.

  • True that, I’d love to have a non-contaminated juice as it arrives to my fridge. On the same time I want to be able to open the carton without losing the juice or have to clean up the kitchen afterwards. That’s a really tough design issue which needs to be addressed, and I imagine is what engineers in the field are struggling with every day. I’d love to have a more advanced carton and pay the extra quarter, but I might not belong to the majority with that opinion? – Benny Skogberg Mar 9 '12 at 8:47
  • @BennySkogberg some do, but they often want better quality juice to, and so pay the extra 10% for better juice AND better opening. On the budget end, this is not cost-justifiable. – Schroedingers Cat Mar 9 '12 at 8:58

Definitely poor design! I avoid those types of juice containers for that very reason.

Another design that seems like it should be good, but always seems to leak, is this one:

enter image description here

Screw-top FTW.

  • I agree Liam, these carton openings is just as bad. Even when you try to open them you should use force to break the paper and enable the juice to pour out of the carton. Thanx for your reply! – Benny Skogberg Mar 9 '12 at 8:32

Poor design i'd say. I tend to cut off the corner, with an optional hole the other side to allow air to get in to stop the erratic pouring.

Alternatively, my mum used to have something similar to these (pictured below). That particular one is discontinued, but Amazon lists a few alternatives which look like they do the same job.

Kitchen Craft Milk/Juice Carton Pourer Spouts- pack of two


In the UK Tetrapak dominated supermarket shelves for liquid packaging, but increasingly I see plastic and screw top waxed cartons: http://youtu.be/2-p8YpR7rJc - No wonder !

They'd work much better if there were a tab with which to break the seal and pull the mouth open.

  • You haven't explained why Tetrapak has dominated the market despite being prone to spillages. – dnbrv Mar 9 '12 at 13:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.