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Title:
APPARATUS, SYSTEM AND METHOD OF PROVIDING A SOLUTE FOR DRINK OR FOOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/205857
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosure provides an apparatus, system and method of providing a lid having an integrated solute that is removably affixed to the lid. The lid may include a top lid portion comprising at least one port that passes from the top portion of the lid through to a bottom portion of the lid; the bottom lid portion comprising a first circular lip at least substantially about an outer circumference thereof suitable for fitting firmly about an opening in a container for containing a solution, and a second circular lip having a diameter less than the first lip; and the integrated solute being removably affixed within the second circular lip, wherein, upon removal of the solute through the opening and into the container, the solution is formed and is consumable through the at least one port.

Inventors:
PINOL PAU (US)
ANGUERA ISMAEL (US)
Application Number:
US2020/025952
Publication Date:
October 08, 2020
Filing Date:
March 31, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JABIL INC (US)
International Classes:
B65D51/28; B65D43/02; B65D53/04; B65D81/32
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005077780A12005-08-25
Foreign References:
US20110290814A12011-12-01
KR101033139B12011-05-11
US20040118847A12004-06-24
US20050178677A12005-08-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCWILLIAMS, Thomas, J. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A lid having an integrated solute that is removably affixed to the lid, comprising: a top lid portion comprising at least one port that passes from the top portion of the lid through to a bottom portion of the lid; the bottom lid portion comprising a first circular lip at least substantially about an outer circumference thereof suitable for fitting firmly about an opening in a container for containing a solution, and a second circular lip having a diameter less than the first lip; the integrated solute being removably affixed within the second circular lip, wherein, upon removal of the solute through the opening and into the container, the solution is formed and is consumable through the at least one port.

2. The lid of claim 1, wherein at least the bottom portion comprises a heat insulating surface.

3. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one port is sized to receive an eating utensil.

4. The lid of claim 1, wherein the solution comprises one selected from the group consisting of coffee, tea, soda, a fruit drink, an energy drink, baby food, soup, cheese, and chocolate.

5. The lid of claim 1, wherein the upper and lower lid portions comprise at least one of injection molding and thermoforming.

6. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one port comprises a resealable port.

7. The lid of claim 1, wherein at least the first circular lip is sized and shaped so as to fit a proprietary one of the container.

8. The lid of claim 1, wherein the first circular lip is sized and shaped so as to fit one of a standard 8 ounce, 12 ounce, 16 ounce, 24 ounce, or 32 ounce one of the container.

9. The lid of claim 1, wherein the at least one port is at least substantially leak proof.

10. The lid of claim 1, wherein the first circular lip and the second circular lip together form a substantially liquid-tight seal about the container.

11. The lid of claim 1, wherein the removable affixation is consumable.

12. The lid of claim 1, wherein the removable affixation comprises a safety seal.

13. The lid of claim 12, wherein the safety seal is peelable away from the second circular lip.

14. The lid of claim 13, wherein an affixation of the safety seal to the second circular lip is not consumable.

15. The lid of claim 1, wherein the removable affixation is suitable to be overcome by pressure on an outer portion of the first circular lip.

16. The lid of claim 1, wherein the removable affixation is suitable to be overcome by gravity.

17. The lid of claim 1, wherein the solution includes the solute and one of cold water, hot water, carbonated water, and a non- water liquid base as a solvent.

18. The lid of claim 1, wherein the solution comprises a solvent placed in the container prior to the solute.

19. The lid of claim 1, wherein formation of the solution is time-based.

20. The lid of claim 1, wherein the first circular lip is suitable for association with the container only after formation of the solution.

Description:
APPARATUS, SYSTEM AND METHOD OF PROVIDING

A SOLUTE FOR DRINK OR FOOD

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims benefit of priority to U.S. Provisional Application

No. 62/827,314, filed April 1, 2019, entitled:“Apparatus, System and Method of Providing a Solute for Drink or Food,” the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference as if set forth in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Field of the Disclosure

[0002] The disclosure relates generally to solutions and, more particularly, to an apparatus, system and method of providing a solute for drink or food.

Description of the Background

[0003] The use of soluble materials in food and drink in the everyday lives of consumers is presently well-established. For example, likely most families have, at one time or another, made soup, partaken of an energy or sweetened drink, or consumed a similar food or beverage at home by placing a solute into a solvent to create a solution for consumption. Similarly, practically every convenience store into which a consumer may enter provides many foods and beverages that constitute solutes placed into a solution, including, by way of non-limiting example, soda fountain drinks, coffees, teas, soups, and so on. Yet further, the options available to consumers, such as from the local grocery store, for soluble foods and beverages are ever-increasing, and now include beverage solutes already placed within a cup for purchase in a package that provides multiple servings of such“instant coffee”. [0004] However, the commonality amongst all the aforementioned circumstances is that the coffee, beverages, foodstuffs, and the like which are provided as solutes for placement into solution take up a great deal of shelf, box, or counterspace. By way of example, a convenience store not only needs to provide lids and cups for its coffee, but often may provide an entire countertop filled with various different options for coffee. Likewise, a soda fountain at a convenience store may present a dozen or more options to a user, but may take up 4 square feet or more of floor space area in the store, and additionally may necessitate the presence of soda syrup solute and pressurized carbonization and dispensing that may be in addition to the soda fountain, and which may need to be hidden from consumers’ view.

[0005] Home options for soluble food and drink are similarly inconvenient. For example, even the“instant coffee” option mentioned above requires the consumer to purchase and store stacked cups having resident therein the solute, which, needless to say, includes at least the volume of each empty cup, which requires storage space. Moreover, if more convenient packages are to be used in the home, such as single serving solute cups for the making of coffee in a“coffee machine”, the consumer must wait for the solution and heating process of brewing to complete before taking the user’s beverage from the coffee machine to proceed on, for example, a morning commute.

[0006] Therefore, an improved apparatus, system, and method for the providing of food and drink from solute, wherein the apparatus, system, and method take up less space to store and dispense, and take up less time from users, is needed. Further, such an apparatus, system, and method should not suffer from decreased safety of consumption. SUMMARY

[0007] Some embodiments include at least an apparatus, system and method of providing a lid having an integrated solute that is removably affixed to the lid. The lid may include a top lid portion comprising at least one port that passes from the top portion of the lid through to a bottom portion of the lid; the bottom lid portion comprising a first circular lip at least substantially about an outer circumference thereof suitable for fitting firmly about an opening in a container for containing a solution, and a second circular lip having a diameter less than the first lip; and the integrated solute being removably affixed within the second circular lip, wherein, upon removal of the solute through the opening and into the container, the solution is formed and is consumable through the at least one port.

[0008] The lid may include a bottom portion comprising a heat insulating surface. The lid may include at least one port sized to receive an eating utensil. The port may be resealable. The solution may be one selected from the group consisting of coffee, tea, soda, a fruit drink, an energy drink, baby food, soup, cheese, and chocolate.

[0009] The at least one port may be at least substantially leak proof. The first circular lip and the second circular lip may together form a substantially liquid-tight seal about the container.

[0010] The removable affixation may be consumable. The removable affixation may comprise a safety seal. The safety seal may be peelable away from the second circular lip.

[0011] Thus, the embodiments provide at least an improved apparatus, system, and method for the providing of food and drink from solute, wherein the apparatus, system, and method take up less space to store and dispense, and take up less time from users. The provided apparatus, system and method provide for safe consumption. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The exemplary compositions, systems, and methods shall be described hereinafter with reference to the attached drawings, which are given as non-limiting examples only, in which:

[0013] Figure 1 is an exemplary illustration of top view a lid including a solute;

[0014] Figure 2 is an illustration of a bottom view of a lid having a solute containing compartment;

[0015] Figure 3 is an illustration of a cross sectional view of a lid including a solute;

[0016] Figure 4 is an illustration of a bottom view of a lid including a solute and a safety seal;

[0017] Figure 5 is an illustration of placement of a solute from a lid into a solution container;

[0018] Figure 6 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of creating a lid including a solute; and

[0019] Figure 7 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of using a lid including a solute.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0020] The figures and descriptions provided herein may have been simplified to illustrate aspects that are relevant for a clear understanding of the herein described apparatuses, systems, and methods, while eliminating, for the purpose of clarity, other aspects that may be found in typical similar devices, systems, and methods. Those of ordinary skill may thus recognize that other elements and/or operations may be desirable and/or necessary to implement the devices, systems, and methods described herein. But because such elements and operations are known in the art, and because they do not facilitate a better understanding of the present disclosure, for the sake of brevity a discussion of such elements and operations may not be provided herein. However, the present disclosure is deemed to nevertheless include all such elements, variations, and modifications to the described aspects that would be known to those of ordinary skill in the art.

[0021] Embodiments are provided throughout so that this disclosure is sufficiently thorough and fully conveys the scope of the disclosed embodiments to those who are skilled in the art. Numerous specific details are set forth, such as examples of specific components, devices, and methods, to provide a thorough understanding of embodiments of the present disclosure. Nevertheless, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that certain specific disclosed details need not be employed, and that embodiments may be embodied in different forms. As such, the embodiments should not be construed to limit the scope of the disclosure. As referenced above, in some embodiments, well-known processes, well-known device structures, and well-known technologies may not be described in detail.

[0022] The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting. For example, as used herein, the singular forms "a", "an" and "the" may be intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. The terms "comprises," "comprising," "including," and "having," are inclusive and therefore specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one or more other features, integers, steps, operations, elements, components, and/or groups thereof. The steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their respective performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as a preferred or required order of performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed, in place of or in conjunction with the disclosed aspects. [0023] When an element or layer is referred to as being "on", "upon", "connected to" or

"coupled to" another element or layer, it may be directly on, upon, connected or coupled to the other element or layer, or intervening elements or layers may be present, unless clearly indicated otherwise. In contrast, when an element or layer is referred to as being "directly on," "directly upon", "directly connected to" or "directly coupled to" another element or layer, there may be no intervening elements or layers present. Other words used to describe the relationship between elements should be interpreted in a like fashion (e.g., "between" versus "directly between," "adjacent" versus "directly adjacent," etc.). Further, as used herein the term "and/or" includes any and all combinations of one or more of the associated listed items.

[0024] Yet further, although the terms first, second, third, etc. may be used herein to describe various elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections, these elements, components, regions, layers and/or sections should not be limited by these terms. These terms may be only used to distinguish one element, component, region, layer or section from another element, component, region, layer or section. Terms such as "first," "second," and other numerical terms when used herein do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context. Thus, a first element, component, region, layer or section discussed below could be termed a second element, component, region, layer or section without departing from the teachings of the embodiments.

[0025] The embodiments provide an apparatus, system, and method of providing solutes for food and drink that require very little storage space, may be efficiently dispensed, but which do not sacrifice consumer safety. More particularly, the embodiments provide a lid having an integrated solute that is sealed or otherwise affixed to the lid, and hence the embodiments may not only provide soluble food and drink, but may additionally provide the functionality of a conventional cup lid. That is, the embodiments may keep food and drink warm or cold, as desirable, by protection from the elements by the provided lid; may cover food and drink to prevent contamination; and may provide one or more ports through which a drink may be consumed, or through which a utensil may be inserted for association with food, or through which a mixer may be inserted, by way of example.

[0026] The embodiments may include a space saving and safety lid that enables the providing of any soluble food or drink. By way of non-limiting example, the solute discussed throughout may provide coffee, tea, soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, baby food, soup, cheese, chocolate, and so on.

[0027] Because the embodiments are directed to a lid having the solute integrated therewith, the storage or display space required for the disclosed lived embodiments are minimal compared with the known art. Further, the costs of transporting and/or warehousing the disclosed embodiments, both in space and economic cost, is appreciably decreased over the known art. Of course, the lids discussed herein may be adaptable to both proprietary and nonproprietary cups, and hence may provide a scalable and sustainable solution for soluble food and drink. That is, some embodiments may be provided as single serve food and drink, and the space and cost-saving provided in the embodiments may allow for sustainable lids and/or packaging associated with lids.

[0028] The providing of the lids to consumers in some embodiments may be via known means and in any known environment, such as in a convenience store, restaurant, or a grocery store. By way of example, a food or drink offering in accordance with the embodiments in a grocery store may be provided in two different options, namely a first option that includes several lids having a desired food or beverage solute integrated with the packaged lids and being package together with a reusable cup or bowl, and a second option in which only refill lids having integrated solute are provided in a multi-pack, by way of non-limiting example.

[0029] Figure 1 illustrates a top view 102 of a lid 100 in association with some embodiments. In the illustration, the lid 100 may be, by way of non-limiting example, created by injection molding or thermo forming, or by any other methodologies known to those skilled in the art. In the illustration of Figure 1, a beverage cup lid is shown wherein a port 104 is provided in order to allow for the drinking of a beverage through the lid. Those skilled in the art will appreciate, in light of the discussion herein, that other ports may be provided without departing from the scope of the embodiments, such as resealable ports, manually-opening ports, ports to receive eating utensils, and so on, and the type of port may be correspondent to the solution onto which the lid is to be placed.

[0030] Figure 2 illustrates a bottom view 202 of a lid 100 according to some embodiments.

As shown, the bottom side 202 of the lid 100 may include an outer circumference 204 and an inner circumference 206, wherein the outer circumference may have a first lip 204a at the outermost portion thereof, and wherein the outer circumference 204 and inner circumference 206 may be separated by a second lip 206a about the outermost portion of the inner circumference.

[0031] The outer circumference 204 may be sized and shaped so as to receive therewithin a container (not shown) in which the solution discussed throughout is to be provided. The container may, in some embodiments, have an upper ridge thereon that is substantially sealed within the outer circumference 204 when the lid 100 is placed upon the container upper ridge. The container may be disposable or reusable, and may have a proprietary or nonproprietary size or shape. Accordingly, the lid 100 discussed throughout may be formed to mate with a proprietary size or shape of container, or a nonproprietary size or shape of container. By way of non-limiting example, a lid 100 according to the embodiments may be sized or shaped for physical association with a standard size disposable beverage cup, such as an 8 ounce, 12 ounce, 16 ounce, 24 ounce, 32 ounce, or the like cardboard or paper beverage container.

[0032] The embodiment of Figure 2 illustrates a port 104 passing through only the outer circumference 204 of the lid, although those skilled in the art will appreciate, in light of the discussion herein, that different ports may be differently placed about the lid. Of course, it will be understood that placement of the port should not adversely affect the protection, and hence the safety, of the solute integrated with the lid, and further should not adversely affect the consumability of food or drink ultimately associated with the container. That is, by way of non limiting example, the port 104 should not leak in an undesirable manner in relation to whatever food or drink may be in solution within the container associated with the lid.

[0033] Figure 3 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the integration of a solute 302 with a lid 100. In the illustration, the solute 302 is removably attached within the inner circumference 206. As will be understood in light of the discussion herein, this removable affixing of the solute 302 must be performed in a manner that ultimately allows for safe consumption of the food or drink to be provided in the solution stemming from the solute 302. That is, any substances used to affix the integrated solute to the lid must be safe for consumption, and to the extent certain processes, such as heating, are used to affix the solute to the lid, such processes must not allow for leaking or leaching of unsafe materials, such as from the plastic of the lid 100, into the integrated solute.

[0034] Figure 4 illustrates a solute 402 integrated with the inner circumference 206 of an exemplary lid 400. In the illustration of Figure 4, a safety seal 404 is shown as partially provided over, and partially peeled back from, the solute 402. This safety seal 404 may serve two functions: namely, to protect the solute 402 from contamination in any environment into which the lid is likely to be placed; and to maintain the integrated solute as removably attached to the lid 400 until it is to be dispensed into the container to form the solution. That is, the integrated solute 402 may be affixed to the lid via a sealing of a safety seal to the inner lip 206a, i.e., the aforementioned lip around the inner circumference, of the lid 400. Such a manner of affixation may provide additional optionality for integration of the solute 402 with the lid 400, such as by enabling the use of safe but not consumable glues or epoxies to seal the safety seal to the lid and/or the inner circumference lip, rather than sealing the safety seal 404 directly to the solute 402. [0035] In short, the safety seal 404 may attach removably to the underside/bottom of the lid 400 and/or to cover the solute 402 and maintain the position of the solute 402. The safety seal 404 may be substantially easily removed by a consumer to enable use of the solute 402, such as by peeling off of the safety seal 404, by poking a hole or holes through the safety seal 404, or via any other known methodologies for accessing the solute 402 affixed beneath the seal 404.

[0036] Figure 5 illustrates the dispensing by a consumer 502 of the solute 504 into a container 506 prior to association of the lid 508 with the container 506. In the embodiment of Figure 5, the safety seal 404 of Figure 4 has presumptively been substantially or completely removed from the bottom of the lid 508 by the consumer. As shown, the consumer may dispense the solute 504 into a container 506 by any known methodology. By way of non-limiting example, after removing of the safety seal 404, the solute 504 may readily fall from the lid 400 when the lid 400 is turned over. Alternatively, the solute 504 may be more tightly integrated with the lid 508, such as by a consumable adherent applied between the solute 402 and the bottom of the lid 508, in which case an alternative manual means of dispensing the solute 504 into the container may be provided. By way of non-limiting example, and as shown in Figure 5, light pressure provided by the hand of a user 502 on either side of the lid 400 may forcibly dispense the solute 504 from the bottom of the lid 508 into the container 506 in the event a safely consumable adherent is used.

[0037] After or prior to dispensing of the solute into the container, the requisite solvent

510 must likewise be dispensed into the container 506. By way of example, cold water, hot water, carbonated or non-carbonated water, or other base solvents 510 may be dispensed into the container 506. Of course, it will be appreciated that although the solvent 510 may be dispensed into the container 506 prior to dispensing of the solute 402, some undesirable splash back on the user upon dispensing of the solute 402 into the container 506 may occur in such embodiments.

[0038] Once the solute 402 and solvent 510 are co-mingled within the container 506, the solution 520 may be generated. The solution 520 may occur by simple association of the solvent 510 and the solute 402, or by any other known means. By way of example, a certain temperature may be necessary in order to create the solution 520; or a manual mixing may be necessary to create the solution 520; or a certain amount of time may be necessary in order for creation of the solution 520. Moreover, to the extent mixing is necessary, mixing may occur by insertion of a mixing device (not shown) into the container 506, either before or after placement of the lid 400 upon the container 506. Likewise, mixing may occur by simple shaking or swirling of the container 506 after joinder of the solute 402 and solvent 510.

[0039] After, before, or during the completion of the association of solvent 510 and solute

402, along with any required methodology to create the solution 520, the lid 508 may be substantially sealedly associated with the container 506. Thereby, the lid 508 may ultimately provide similar functionality to that provided by any known lid, such as keeping food or drink hot or cold, protecting food or drink from contamination, and/or allowing for consumption of food or drink within the container 506.

[0040] Figure 6 is a flow diagram illustrating a method 700 of creating a lid according to the embodiments. In the illustration, a lid is provided, such as by injection molding or thermoforming, by way of non-limiting example. At step 704, a solute is integrated with the lid. At step 708, the solute is sealed, affixed, or otherwise integrated within the lid, both to maintain the integration of the lid and the solute, and to maintain the safety of the consumable to be ultimately associated with the solution. At step 720, the sealed lids having the integrated solutes associated therewith may be packaged or otherwise provided for eventual consumption of a produced solution.

[0041] Figure 7 as a flow diagram illustrating a method 800 of use of the embodiments by consumer. In the illustration, at step 802, a lid is obtained by a consumer. At step 806, a safety seal is removed from the lid, such as from a top side of the lid, a bottom side of the lid, or from any other integrated portion of the lid. Removal of this safety seal may require an amount of force to overcome maintenance of the seal upon the solute and/or the lid, as will be understood to the skilled artisan.

[0042] At step 810, the solute and solvent may be placed into a container for generation of the solution. At step 820, any additional steps required, such as mixing or heating, to generate the solution may be performed.

[0043] At step 830, the lid may be associated with the container having therein either the solute and the solvent, or the completed solution. Thereafter, at step 850, the food or drink now in solution may be consumed, such as via one or more ports provided in the lid.

[0044] Further, the descriptions of the disclosure are provided to enable any person skilled in the art to make or use the disclosed embodiments. Various modifications to the disclosure will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the generic principles defined herein may be applied to other variations without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosure. Thus, the disclosure is not intended to be limited to the examples and designs described herein, but rather is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein.