While I'm normally one to celebrate the design of everyday supermarket items, I recently suffered a moment of doubt from one of my favourite brands. Tropicana have introduced a new bottle for those, like me, who required massive amounts of OJ. At 89 Fl. oz., the new "Easy Pour Pitcher" is larger than the familiar 64 oz. carton, but smaller than the gargantuan 128 oz. jug. I suppose it is easy to pour, not that the old one were terribly difficult, but it does leave me shaking my head for a number of reasons.
More photos and commentary after the jump.
First things first, this pitcher has a newly engineered mouth — the crux of all pouring ease. The oval shape allows more air to flow as the juice leaves ... laminar vs. turbulent flow, and all that. But the shape itself means that pouring must be done with greater intent to prevent spills — no sideways waiter-style pouring allowed. Similarly, it is virtually impossible to drink directly from the pitcher. (good for families, terrible for bachelors).
And they don't stack. As we've seen, this can be controversial.
As you might expect, there is a safety/freshness seal on new pitchers. But rather than the simple tear-and-toss seals we see on other bottles, the seal is actually attached on the inside of the mouth, below the orange cap mechanisms. It's hard to tell from the above photo, but opening the seal not only requires the use of some sharp instrument, but more than a few moments of reaching in and excavating the darn thing just to open the channel for supposed easy pouring. I can foresee many dropped pitchers resulting from the unreasonable gymnastics required to open these.
Then there's the matter of the volume. 89 oz. seems like plenty, until it comes to light that this size is actually a 7 oz. decrease from the 96 oz. jugs that used to occupy this slot in the lineup. Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar tale of how companies shrink the amount per container, but keep the price the same. Consumerist broke the story a while ago, with minor scandals following.
And finally, from a strictly graphical point of view, I don't understand why the artwork is so confined to the front of the pitcher. Since the label is printed directly on the bottle, without the need for applied stickers or glued paper labels, why restrict the artwork to the flat part of the pitcher. I feel it would be more compelling to use the entire bottle, as is the case with the cartons.
So in conclusion, these fancy new pitchers are hard to open, don't stack, feature less-than-brilliant artwork, are impossible to drink directly from, and are a slight rip-off compared to their descendants. I think I'll stick to cartons, come what may.