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Tuesday
Mar022004

Arrogant Yogurt Packaging

Today for lunch, I enjoyed a nice cup of Yoplait yogurt. After I'd finished, I happened to read the package (something I often do). I found a bit of text in red letters on the back of the cup:

PROTECT WILDLIFE
CRUSH THIS CONTAINER BEFORE DISPOSAL

I thought about this for a moment and said to myself "Hey, what a great gesture by Yoplait. Being a good corporate citizen and all that."

But, after thinking about it and considering the industrial design of the container a little longer, I actually got a bit angry. Why?

Well, the reason a Yoplait yogurt container is more dangerous for animals is that the opening is smaller than the base of the cup, so if an animal tries to lick the yogurt inside it, their head can get stuck.

So, here's Yoplait, telling me its my responsibility to crush the container so an animal can't get its head stuck inside? I don't mind crushing the cup before I recycle it, but that's not the point.

The point is, why doesn't Yoplait change the design and shape of their packaging, so it's like every other yogurt container (wider at the opening than the base) so it slides off an animal's head (should that situation arise)?

Funny how design can seem to be a surface or graphics issue, until you face something like this. Just goes to show that design is often critically important in more ways than just how something looks.

Reader Comments (6)

John, It's not difficult to crush a container at all -- my point was that Yoplait was willing to tell me on their own label to crush the container before disposal to "PROTECT WILDLIFE" yet are not willing to change the very design of that product to solve the problem.

I realize that Yoplait's containers are unique precisely to set them apart from other yogurt competitors. What was ironic to me was that Yoplait on the one hand tells me in big red letters that their own product's container is dangerous to animals, but on the other hand they are unwilling to change the design of their own product to make it safer.

As for way too much time, no. It's an observation. We all make them, I just happened to write about this one. As for reasoned, I think it is well reasoned.

What I do think though is you may be missing the point. :-)
March 4, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Well, I found it all funny. Your observation and the joke as well! :)

I can just see the Yoplait board of directors being presented with this problem. "It's come to our attention that our product packaging is killing animals. So I guess we have to re-engineer, re-tool, and re-market our product to get PETA off our asses." Then someone in marketing speaks up and says, "We could just print a label..." ;-P
March 4, 2004 | Unregistered Commentermashby
Oh, and no, I am not a politician. :-)
March 13, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Jo, thanks for the comment! I'm happy to see my comments having some impact out there in the real world. :-)

Best wishes on your packaging project.

Mike
August 24, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Easy. Don't eat yogurt. Grab a stick of pepperoni, ladies!
October 13, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterPapa Kannabeir

So, here it is 2012 and the yogurt cup design is the same. It is obvious that Yoplait refuses to take responsibility for product packaging that can kill small wildlife and leaves it to the consumer to do what they have failed to do - protect wildlife. The only reason I recently had their yogurt was because I used to get it years ago and felt like having some yogurt. Then I noticed the same printed message and IMO I don't think crushing the cup is the answer since when I've done so the plastic almost regains its original shape in the trash can. I hate the design anyway becasue I can barely get my spoon out and what if I wanted to eat with a tablespoon? Nope, can't do that. By lame design I'm forced to eat with a teaspoon. I won't be buying their yogurt until the cup is redesigned.

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

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