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Title:
A CONTAINER FOR MEASURING A LIQUID
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/086262
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is in field of packaging; in particular, it relates to a packaging model and method for reducing the volume of packaging material of a liquid product. There is a long felt need for packaging liquid products in a sustainable manner, without compromising the ease of use, and it is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a packaging model for liquid products which is sustainable and easy to use It is found that a container for measuring a liquid comprising at least one opening on the side of the container characterized in that the opening (2) is large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through and small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 1500 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through, provides the required ease of use when dissolving a dehydrated liquid product in solid form.

Inventors:
BOULTON, Oliver, James (Unilever R&D Port Sunlight Quarry Road East, Bebington, Wirral Merseyside CH63 3JW, CH63 3JW, GB)
IYER, Nurani, Dharmaraj, Krishnaprakash (Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Unilever HouseB.D. Sawant Marg, Chakala, Andheri, Mumbai 9, CH63 3JW, IN)
Application Number:
EP2018/078542
Publication Date:
May 09, 2019
Filing Date:
October 18, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNILEVER PLC (a company registered in England and Wales under company no. of Unilever House, 100 Victoria Embankment, London Greater London EC4Y 0DY, EC4Y 0DY, GB)
UNILEVER N.V. (Weena 455, 3013 AL Rotterdam, 3013 AL, NL)
CONOPCO, INC., D/B/A UNILEVER (700 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 07632, US)
International Classes:
B65D85/816; D06F39/02; G01F19/00
Foreign References:
EP0328863A11989-08-23
EP2554486A12013-02-06
EP1415577A12004-05-06
GB2339678A2000-02-09
GB2323606A1998-09-30
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TANSLEY, Sally, Elizabeth (Unilever PLC, Unilever Patent Group Colworth House Sharnbrook, Bedford Bedfordshire MK44 1LQ, MK44 1LQ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1 A unit- dose container (1 ) for measuring a liquid comprising at least one opening (2) on the side of the container (1 ) characterized in that the opening (2) is large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through and small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 1500 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through.

2 A container (1 ) according to claim 1 wherein the container (1 ) comprises at least two openings (2).

3 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the container

(1 ) comprises a plurality of openings (2).

4 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the opening

(2) is large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through.

5 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the opening (2) is small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 3000 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through.

6 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the opening (2) has a diameter of 0.1 to 2 mm.

7 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the container (1 ) has a handle.

8 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the container (1 ) has a volume (v) of 1 to 25 cubic centimetres.

9 A container (1 ) according to anyone of the preceding claims wherein the container (1 ) has a diameter (x) of 2 to 10 cm. A kit comprising a container (1 ) according to claims 1 to 9. A kit according to claim 10 further comprising a FMCG product and instructions for use. Use of a container (1 ) according to claim 1 in a kit for providing FMCG products in a unit-dose form. A method of reducing the volume of packaging material of a liquid product comprising the steps of

a providing a liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) and

b activating the liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) with a solvent in unit-dose container (1 ) according to claims 1 to 9.

Description:
A CONTAINER FOR MEASURING A LIQUID Field of the invention

The present invention is in field of packaging; in particular, it relates to a packaging model and method for reducing the volume of packaging material of a liquid product.

Background of the invention

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) often contain large amounts of water intended for easy dosing by the consumer. However, the water adds to the weight of the product, which adds to the energy needs of the transport of the products and thereby increases the environmental footprint of the product.

Concentrated liquid products that need to be diluted with water by the consumer at home have been introduced to reduce the transport of water and thereby reduce the environmental footprint.

However, dilution of a product into a used bottle is generally perceived as inconvenient and cumbersome. Consumers do not like it. Fast moving consumer goods in unit dose form are also known in the art. Single use sachets, capsules and tablets are common nowadays in both the developed and developing world.

Dishwashing and laundry tablets and capsules are seen as highly convenient. Also, sachets are used in the developing world as a way of making FMCG products available and affordable to the common man.

Sachets are great options for consumers who want to use a specific product but are against the idea of buying full-size packs due to reasons such as price constraints or consumer uncertainty for first-time buyers. Sachets are also known to help in driving consumption of products that do not have high penetration levels. Sachet packaging, normally made of a thin film of plastic and aluminum in a sandwich laminate form, has captured many of the developing and under developed market segments and allowed the low-income communities to enjoy quality products such as shampoos, toothpastes, lotions, condiments, even ready-to-eat food and drinking water, which are not viable with normal bottle and container packaging.

While the sachets have brought better quality products to low income communities, they have also become a waste challenge. Community waste volumes are projected to grow worldwide as adoption of these sachet products increases.

Thus, waste sustainability is fast becoming an issue in countries in Asia, threatening to overrun landfills and create new ones from what are otherwise beautiful landscapes and endangering the water supply by contamination. Biodegradable sachets are available, but these are more expensive and affect the sensitive low-product price points which is the main justification for offering the product in sachet form in the first place.

Packaging with the laminate of plastic and aluminium is essential for sachets especially when used for packaging liquid products in order to avoid any leakage but are nonbiodegradable.

Hence, a need remains for packaging liquid products in a sustainable manner, without compromising the ease of use.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a packaging model for liquid products which is sustainable and easy to use.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a packaging model which eliminates the need for using the laminate of plastic and aluminium. Summary of the invention

Accordingly, in a first aspect, the present invention provides a container (1 ) for measuring a liquid comprising at least one opening (2) on the side of the container (1 ) characterized in that the opening (2) is large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through and small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 1500 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through.

In a second aspect, the present invention provides a kit comprising a container (1 ) according to the invention.

In a third aspect, the present invention provides use of a container (1 ) according to the invention in a kit for providing FMCG products in a unit-dose form.

In a fourth aspect, the present invention provides a method of reducing the volume of packaging material of a liquid product comprising the steps of (a) providing a liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) and (b) activating the liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) with a solvent in a unit-dose container (1 ) according to the invention. In the context of the present invention, the reference to "FMGC" typically means fast moving consumer goods.

These and other aspects, features and advantages will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art from a reading of the following detailed description and the appended claims. For the avoidance of doubt, any feature of one aspect of the present invention may be utilised in any other aspect of the invention. The word "comprising" is intended to mean "including" but not necessarily "consisting of" or "composed of." In other words, the listed steps or options need not be exhaustive. It is noted that the examples given in the description below are intended to clarify the invention and are not intended to limit the invention to those examples per se. Similarly, all percentages are weight/weight percentages unless otherwise indicated. Except in the operating and comparative examples, or where otherwise explicitly indicated, all numbers in this description indicating amounts of material or conditions of reaction, physical properties of materials and/or use are to be understood as modified by the word "about".

Numerical ranges expressed in the format "from x to y" are understood to include x and y. When for a specific feature multiple preferred ranges are described in the format "from x to y", it is understood that all ranges combining the different endpoints are also contemplated.

Detailed description of the invention

The packaging model of the present invention comprises a container (1 ) and a liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) to provide a unit-dose of the liquid product. The container (1 ) is reusable and is used for dissolving the dehydrated solid form of the product (P) in a solvent to obtain the liquid product.

In a first aspect, the present invention relates to a container (1 ) for measuring a liquid comprising at least one opening (2) on the side of the container (1 ) characterized in that the opening (2) is large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through and small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 1500 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through.

The container (1 ) comprises at least one opening (2) on its side, preferably at least two, more preferably at least four, still more preferably at least six, even more preferably at least eight but for the scope of the present invention a container (1 ) comprising a plurality of openings (2) are not excluded.

By side of the container it is meant side wall of the container.

The opening (2) is present in more than one positions on the side of the container (1 ), preferably at least two. In a preferred embodiment, the openings (2) are positioned opposite to each other. In order to dissolve the dehydrated solid form of the product (P) to obtain a unit-dose of the liquid product, the container has to be first filed with the correct amount of the solvent. A conventional way of providing unit-dose measurement of liquids is by providing line markings on the re-usable containers such as the ones that can be found on cough syrup bottles. The disadvantage of such containers is that sometimes the containers are too small to clearly see the markings especially for people with poor eyesight.

In the present invention, the openings (2) are used as a way to automatically level the solvent inside the container (1 ) to the correct amount required to dissolve the product.

The number of openings (2) at each position can vary from 1 to 10, preferably at least 2, more preferably at least 3. The container (1 ) can have the same number of openings (2) at each position or different number of openings (2) at different positons. In a preferred embodiment, the container (1 ) has the same number of openings (2) at each position.

The number of openings (2) the container (1 ) can have is dependent on the size of the openings (2). When the openings are larger, the number of openings required are lesser than the number of opening required when the openings are smaller.

The size of the opening (2) is critical. The opening (2) should be large enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 0.1 to 20 mPa.s to pass through, preferably at least 0.5 mPa.s, more preferably at least 1 mPa.s, still more preferably at least 1 .5 mPa.s, even more preferably at least 2 mPa.s but typically not more than 15 mPa.s, preferably not more than 10 mPa.s, more preferably not more than 5 mPa.s, still more preferably not more than 4 mPa.s, even more preferably not more than 3 mPa.s or even more than 2.5 mPa.s. and small enough for a liquid having a viscosity of 1500 to 5000 mPa.s not to pass through, preferably at least 2000 mPa.s, more preferably at least 2500 mPa.s, still more preferably at least 3000 mPa.s but typically not more than 4500 mPa.s, preferably not more than 4000 mPa.s, more preferably not more than 3500 mPa.s.

The solvent is preferably less viscous than the liquid product obtained. This is important since the solvent should be able to pass through the opening (2) and not the liquid product obtained from dissolving the dehydrated solid form (P) in the solvent. So, the user may even pour the solvent to the brim of the container and at the same time does not have to worry about the liquid product leaking through the opening. The opening (2) preferably has a diameter of 0.1 to 2 mm, preferably at least 0.3 mm, more preferably at least 0.5 mm, still more preferably at least 0.8 mm, even more preferably at least 1 mm but typically not more than 1 .8 mm, preferably not more than 1 .5 mm, more preferably not more than 1.3 mm, still more preferably not more than 1 .2 mm.

The opening (2) may be of any shape. It may preferably be square, rectangular, oval or circular. It is preferably circular. In the context of the present invention the diameter of the opening (2), for non-circular openings (2) means the average of the longest and the shortest distance between two opposite sides of the opening (2). Preferably the ratio between the longest and the shortest distance is between 1 :1 and 1 :4. Preferably between 1 :1 and 1 :2.

In another aspect, the invention provides a container (1 ) for measuring a liquid comprising at least one opening (2) on the side of the container (1 ) characterized in that the opening (2) has a diameter of 0.1 to 2 mm.

The container (1 ) is preferably a unit-dose container. By unit-dose, it is meant the amount of product required for a single use. Unit-dose of a product can vary depending on its application so would the size of the container as well. The height at which the openings (2) are positioned from the bottom of the container (1 ) can vary depending on the size of the container (1 ), the type and use of the liquid product, for example a unit-dose of a laundry detergent liquid will vary from a unit-dose of a shampoo. The container (1 ) typically has a volume (v) of 1 to 25 cubic centimetres, preferably at least 3 cm 3 , more preferably at least 5 cm 3 , still more preferably at least 8 cm 3 , even more preferably at least 10 cm 3 or even 12 cm 3 but typically not more than 23 cm 3 , preferably not more than 20 cm 3 , more preferably not more than 18 cm 3 , still more preferably not more than 15 cm 3 .

The container (1 ) has a diameter (x) of 2 to 10 cm, preferably at least 3 cm, but typically less than 8 cm, more preferably less than 7 cm. The cross-section of the container (1 ) may be of any shape. It may preferably be square, rectangular, oval or circular. It is preferably circular. In the context of the present invention the diameter of the container, for non-circular containers means the average of the longest and the shortest distance between two opposite sides of the container (1 ). Preferably the ratio between the longest and the shortest distance is between 1 :1 and 1 :4. Preferably between 1 :1 and 1 :2.

In a preferred embodiment, the container (1 ) has a handle. In a more preferred embodiment, the container (1 ) is a measuring spoon as demonstrated in the figures.

It is especially preferred that when the top of the container (1 ) is level, the opening (2), in case of a single opening (2), or the opening (2) positioned closest to the bottom of the container (1 ), in case of more than one opening (2), is positioned so that at least 10% of the volume of the container (1 ) is below the opening or opening positioned closest to the bottom; more preferably at least 15 %, more preferably at least 25%, still more preferably at least 30%, even more preferably at least 40%, but typically not more than 90%, more preferably not more than 80%, even more preferably not more than 70% or even not more than 60%.

Product

The product (P) is typically a dehydrated solid form of a product that may be dissolved using a solvent before use.

In the meaning of the present invention, the dehydrated solid form of the product (P) when dissolved in a solvent, provides a liquid product.

The product (P) comprises less than 50% of water, preferably less than 40%, more preferably less than 30%, still more preferably less than 25%, even more preferably less than 20%, or even less than 15% or even less than 10% or even less than 5% or even less than 3% or even less than 2% by weight of the total product composition. The product (P) of the present invention is preferably a FMCG product; in particular, a personal care, home care or food product. Home care products may be detergent tablets (such as laundry or dishwashing detergents), cleaning composition tablets, water purification compositions. Food products may include, bouillon cubes, food concentrates, instant soups or sauces, chewing gum, instant dressings. Personal care products may include detergent compositions such shampoo, conditioner, soap (such as hand wash, face wash or body wash/shower gel), mouthwash, intimate wash, shaving gel. Preferably the product (P) is a personal care product, which is a shampoo, conditioner or body wash/shower gel in a dehydrated solid form.

It is preferred that the liquid is ideally a polar solvent or a mixture of polar solvents. The most preferred liquid is water.

In a second aspect, the present invention relates to a kit comprising a container (1 ) according to the invention. The kit further comprises a FMCG product and/or instructions for use. In a third aspect, the present invention relates to use of a container (1 ) according to the invention in a kit for providing FMCG products in a unit-dose form.

In a fourth aspect, the present invention relates to a method of reducing the volume of packaging material of a liquid product comprising the steps of (a) providing a liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) and (b) activating the liquid product in a dehydrated solid form (P) with a solvent in a unit-dose container (1 ) according to the invention.

By activating is meant that the solid form is left to dissolve, react or interact with the solvent to form a liquid product.

In a preferred embodiment, the liquid product is a detergent composition which is a shampoo, conditioner or body wash/shower gel. Brief Description of the figures

The figures show non-limiting examples to illustrate the invention.

Figure 1 shows a perspective side view (Figure 1A) of a container (1 ) with 6 openings (2) and a handle and the same container (1 ) seen from a top view (Figure 1 B).

Figure 2A shows a container (1 ) that is filled with a liquid having a viscosity of less than 20 mPA.s, and the liquid being automatically levelled inside the container (1 ) by displacing some of the liquid, through the openings (2), before the addition of the dehydrated solid form of the product (P).

Figure 2B shows the same container (1 ) with the dehydrated solid form of the product (P) emersed and dissolving. Figure 3A a shows one embodiment of individually packaged containers (1 ).

Figure 3B shows an embodiment of a packaging with a plurality of dehydrated solid forms of the product (P).