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Standard Clamshell Voted Easiest to Open @PACKEXPO

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Nov 11, 2016 10:43:17 AM

Good morning, my packaging friends!

The results of Dordan's easy-open clamshell vote from PACK EXPO are in: The easiest "easy-open" clamshell prototype to open was....drum roll please....

The standard clamshell with side hinge and platform snap, HA!

There were 71 votes tallied, with the following break-down:

32 PACK EXPO attendees voted for the standard clamshell with side hinge and platform snap (this was the control; no photo available).

16 voted for the two-part clamshell with die cut tab protruding towards them (#4):

Plastic clamshell

12 voted for the tear-to-open clamshell with detent button snaps (#5):

Tamper proof clamshell

Detent button snap

8 voted for the two-part clamshell with faux RF-seal (#1):

Two part clamshell

Thermoformed clamshell

6 voted for the two-part clamshell with embossed pull-to-open die cut tab (#3):

Clamshell

Easy open clamshell

4 voted for the two-part clamshell with tear-dropped-shaped die-cut tab (#2):

Plastic thermoformed clamshell

Here is the feedback I got from voters:

  • The two-part clamshell with faux RF-seal (#1) looked the best, but it was very difficult to open and the consumer needed instruction as to how to open. The faux-RF seal definitely fooled the consumer into thinking the package was RF-sealed, which is part of the reason it was not intiutive as to how to open the package.
  • The die-cut hole in the front panel (#2) made the package easy-to-open, but concern over dust and particulates getting inside the package was articulated. When popped open, the tray bounces free of the lid, potentially sending the product flying.
  • The embossed pull-to-open tab (#3) keeps dust and particulates from entering the package, but it's a little awkward to grab and pull.
  • The die-cut pull tab that protrudes toward the consumer (#4) is obvious and intuitive. However, when pulled and the lid is popped free from the tray, concern over the product becoming dislodged from the cavity was articulated.
  • The tear-to-open die-cut feature (#5) worked well, but when torn free, it left a somewhat jagged edge, potentially a nuisance for consumers intending to re-use the package. The detent snaps are super cool.

Each of these easy-open clamshell concepts was developed to meet the following performance criteria:

  • Easy-to-open
  • Reusable
  • Pilferage-proof and tamper-evident
  • Durable and secure, withstanding standard shipping and drop tests for retail

While some of the designs met some of the criteria and others met all, the two-part solution excelled from a reusable stand-point: Most voters articulated desire to reuse the tray after opening the package as a product organizer in their drawer. All those who participated in the vote understood the design process Dordan went through to try and innovate the clamshell package, and all were sympathetic to the realization that the clamshell is a great design, as-is. While there are design features that can add to the opening experience for the consumer, most take away from the ability to protect the product from pilferage at retail. Tamper-evident features are helpful, but compromise the likelihood that the package will be reused by the consumer.

As my Dad likes to say when people request we innovate the clamshell, "you can't innovate the zipper." Some designs are pervasive throughout society because they work. The clamshell package, unfortunately for some who complain about wrap rage over the holidays, is a popular vehicle for merchandising product at retail because it does the job that it was designed to do: Keeping the product safe to the point of sale.

Thank you to the voters and all those who partipated in Dordan's easy-open clamshell vote at PACK EXPO. Here is a photo from the vote, courtesy of the PACK EXPO Show Daily.

Learn about Dordan's thermoform package design.

Learn about Dordan's plastic clamshells.

Dordan's easy-open clamshell vote

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