/ Food & Drink, Health, Shopping

Wrap rage – the everyday packaging that hurts to open

Man opening jar

You’d complain loudly if you bought a new car and had to fight to get the door open, so why do we have to put up with difficult-to-open everyday packaging?

Three quarters of us think that everyday packaging is harder to open than it needs to be. One Which? member told us:

‘Recently I found my camera card was full and bought a spare. I found that I could not open it without scissors so bought a pair from WH Smith. I then found that I could not get the scissors out of their packaging because of a nylon cable tie. An electrician lent me a pair of cutters so that I could remove the scissors and then unpack the memory card.’

It’s a story we’ve heard before on Which? Conversation, from Harry:

‘On the way to an event, I remembered I had forgotten to take the scissors. No problem, I thought, as there was a supermarket on the way. But at the checkout, it became clear that the only way I was going to be able to use them was to find another pair of scissors to open the packaging.’

But the struggle to get into household goods – from food to toiletries to medicines – has a more serious side, and some worrying implications for our health and wellbeing.

Some packs pose painful problems

According to our survey, four in ten people say they have hurt themselves while trying to open packaging in the last two years. That’s a staggering 25 million people if we scale that up to the UK population.

The biggest packaging offender for injuries is the tin can. If we applied our figures to the general population, that would mean more than one million people are going to their GP or A&E at least once in a two-year period, simply as a the result of opening a tin.

And moulded plastic packs claim nearly as many victims, as well as being the biggest cause of irritation, annoying over half of people.

We’re resorting to weaponry to fight our way into packs as well, with 89% using scissors, 66% knives, 8% using Stanley knives, 6% screwdrivers, and a worrying minority resorting to razor blades (4%) and hammers (2%). Here’s just one example of someone using a knife to get into a package, shared by a GP:

‘A patient came in requesting a substitute prescription for her eye drops. She’d ruined the first bottle while using a knife to try and get into it.’

The ingenious jam jar lid

We know that manufacturers have to serve many masters: packaging has to be sustainable (reducing materials used), safe and secure, and keep our food fresh and intact in transit and on the shelves. Perhaps it’s no wonder that accessibility has taken a while to get to the top of their ‘to do’ list.

Some manufacturers have got it right – Duerr’s jam jar lid is ingenious. You twist an outer ring which loosens and pushes the fixed central panel away, breaking the seal. Whereas more traditional jars need strength to open them.

But I believe that packaging matters. It’s stopping a quarter of people from eating what they want, and a quarter of people regularly need help to open packaging. And more and more of us are living alone. For example, one older lady told me she has to wait for the postman to open jars and tins for her.

Manufacturers may soon have help to commit to easier packaging, regardless of the cost. An EU testing method was launched in 2011 to help manufacturers striving to improve packaging accessibility, using test panels of older people. This should become a British standard in 2014.

Do you agree that inaccessible packaging is an important issue, or do you think it’s just an occupational hazard?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I mentioned the brilliant design of the lid on Duerr’s preserves in the Conversation on inaccessible packaging. It would be good if the company allowed others to copy this design, but I guess it is patented.

Companies that design products that make our life easier should win design awards, but these seem to be given for aesthetic considerations rather than for practicality.

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A few years ago my mum even wrote to Duerr to thank them for their very user friendly lids

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
20 August 2013

The big problem is the cost sadly. Unfourtunately the Duerrs lid cost 50% more than a standard lid and many brand owners can’t afford to take the hit as retailers won’t let them increase it. Duerr’s were quite brave going for it. That said i don’t understand why they haven’t made more of it to be honest. When I spoke to them they said it had reinforced their brand but had made people switch brands.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Thanks for this insight, Alaster. I wonder how much extra the lid costs.

Though I have little problem with conventional lids, I a now buy Duerr products more frequently, because I like the design of the lid. I also buy cartons of UHT milk that have screw caps rather than a peel off strip, simply because it is so easy to spill milk with the latter design.

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
20 August 2013

Hiya,

Pence. But when you make millions and millions it all adds up. People often say they will pay more for stuff but people are very brand loyal. Even though I was involved with it I have to say it’s a great product 🙂

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I used to buy various brands of ginger preserve, depending on price. Now I buy Duerrs unless there is an offer on other brands, simply because of the lid. Thank your for your efforts and causing me to spend pence more. 🙂 At the other end of the scale, I will pay a lot more for Apple computers because I like the operating system and my experience of very good reliability.

Nutcrackers that crack the shell without damaging the nut or can be used by those with weak hands are other examples of great design.

With people living longer, we need to start thinking about good design of everyday products.

Profile photo of william
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My poor “old” father is now forced to use a pair of pliers to get into some of the bottles of medicine he has, as he can’t grip the very small plastic tag which you need to pull to free the lid up and this is after several years of getting bottles he could open.

When they queried this with the manufacturer, they were told it was to make the bottle child proof. Yet it now seems old age pensioner proof too. 🙁

Profile photo of wavechange
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I agree, William. My mother had severe arthritis and struggled with packaging. Many children can defeat ‘child proof’ caps that make life difficult for elderly people.

Perhaps we should all take your mum’s approach and send compliments to those manufacturers that try to help us. It might not take long. 🙂

Member
Alan says:
20 August 2013

The only problem with tin cans is when they are not opened carefully or with the right tool. They have, after all, been around for just a little while. On the other hand, these shrunk wrapped hard plastic packages are a nightmare, both logistically in getting into them and often environmentally in disposal.

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
20 August 2013

Hiya Alan,

I once had to use coat hanger to get into a plastic clamshell. Almost dislocated my arm! Broke the coat hanger…..

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Alan

Try using a small retractable knife with a sharp blade and set it so that only 1 mm of the blade protrudes. I find this works well for tough plastic packaging, with little risk of damaging myself or the contents. Manufacturers use this packaging to prevent people stealing the contents from shop display, to ensure that small parts cannot fall out of the package, and to protect the product from damage if dropped or otherwise mistreated.

Alaster

I now understand why shops keep hold of coat hangers these days. They would not want anyone to hurt themselves. 🙂

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
20 August 2013

Hiya,

Yes the main reason for clamshells is protection and resistance to theft. However, a quick trip into certain supermarkets will show you how ineffective it is as theft deterrent….

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One product which occasionally proves difficult to access, is the rectangular corned beef tin. The opener, provided, will engage with the tab, but the sliver of weakened case will often taper off and fail to complete the circuit. The rectangular shape of the tin may not accommodate an average tin opener, and you are reduced to using knives or scissors to complete the task.

I know that the rectangular tin has been in use for many years, but the failure of the key opener appears to be a more frequent occurrence.

Member
Hua Dong says:
21 August 2013

We are used to resort to tools (scissors or knife) to open clamshells; when tools are readily available, opening the packaging does not seem to be difficult. But what if there is no tool, and you desperately want to access the product? I recently bought an power adapter (in clamshell) when I stayed in a hotel in the USA, there was no way that I could open the packaging by myself. Frustration! Why such a typical scenario was not considered by the packaging developers?

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
24 August 2013

I once had to use a metal screw cap shampoo in a hotel. Wet and soapy hands meant I couldn’t get in it. Impossible.

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An interesting aspect of hotel bathroom packages is that the writing is so small that it is difficult to read particularly when one is already in the shower or bath. I now have to resort to pre-reading the label with my glasses on, strategically placing them,before use as the packages are so similar.
Why don’t the suppliers use larger letters or colour code them.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Maybe someone could a collection of tools for tackling difficult packaging – a modern day equivalent of the Swiss Army penknife.

Member
Anorak says:
21 August 2013

Among the worst offenders are the “child proof” screw caps found on household cleaners, DIY painting liquids etc. They are intensely irritating, often require considerable finger force to release, and sometimes jam, requiring potentially dangerous levering off with a screwdriver. They are not child proof anyway, most kids have the savvy and finger strength to open them! Older people can find them a real problem. Can someone start a campaign to abolish them?

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
24 August 2013

They’re child proof as far as the test protocol goes. How good the test protocol is is another matter. My colleague Laura Bix at MSU argues that it’s actually unethical as it doesn’t consider older frail adults (otherwise the pack would fail!).
Many older adults decant the medicines. Blister packs (unit-dose) medicines aren’t even child resistant.

Member
Hilary Sutcliffe says:
21 August 2013

YES! I am sure that packaging is unnecessary, let alone unsustainable. Could we have a packaging black list?

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
22 August 2013

Hiya Hilary,

It may often feel that there is too much packaging but packaging has several roles. It has to protect and preserve your food as well as help you store it. Half the World’s food is thrown away and a big reason is that the packaging and supply chains don’t exist. You may hate a cucumber wrapped in celophane but it lasts a lot longer than one that isn’t. Also over 70% of packaging isrecycled and there are examples of ‘closed-loop’ recycling schemes whereby the packaging is 100%.
that said it isn’t perfect….

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You are aware that you can get “special” bags or even gadgets that go in the fridge that will extend the life of fruit and veg. I would think that they’re better than a sealed bag where the contents can’t “breath”

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
24 August 2013

Hiya,

Yep. We use them all the time. But you get my point, the stuff still generally has to be stored, shipped, stored, shelved, stored etc. Packaging helps this happen. We can argue about how far stuff has to travel etc (it gets really complicated).

Profile photo of wavechange
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Wrapping cucumbers in plastic is not necessarily a good idea because it traps ethene produced by the ripening cucumbers. Ethene also accelerates ripening and production is enhanced when cucumbers are chilled. The overall effect is that cucumbers stored in plastic wrappers soon become over-ripened and soft when stored in the fridge.

I accept that packaging has an important role in protection of food, but other factors need to be taken into consideration too.

PS Ethene is commonly known by the old name ethylene and it is used commercially to accelerate ripening.

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I meant to mention that it can be important to remove packaging when produce is stored in the fridge. This allows ethene and excess moisture to escape. William has the right idea.

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I actually use a de-ioniser in the fridge, and have seem the results first hand. At the very worst it adds a couple of days that some fruit and veg stays fresh and at best it adds just over a week.

Maybe Which? could investigate these ? To see which ones are the better ones

Member
Paul says:
21 August 2013

As a youngster I was told that wood glue created a stronger bond than the material it was sticking. It has occurred to me in the last year or so that the same argument now applies to cardboard. It never used to be so difficult to open a cardboard carton. On a packet of cereal it used to say ‘place finger under flap and slide from left to right’, nowadays you’re lucky to be able to open a cereal packet intact such that you can reinsert the tab to close it again. And now you need to collapse the used packet so your recycling box doesn’t fill up.

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In complying with the manufacturer’s instructions I managed to cut my finger so often on the sharp edges of cereal box flaps [the results are virtually unnoticeable in the cranberry clusters] that I now always use the handle of a cereal spoon. This appears to be perfect for the function and I think the legend on the box-tops should recommend it. My Bisk-Wheetoes taste so much better without the sanguine supplement.

Member
Raysalarf says:
24 August 2013

Tin cans, yes always have been a menace, and using tin openners one knows how to be careful.
The new ring pulls were a good improvement but even those are now getting to the stage of more dangerous than the ordinary tin. The force to pull the ring appears to have grown so one can cut or spill the beans in doing so. It might be the thickness/quality of the metal used who knows.
Packaging today, whether its corn flakes or batteries in a pack one needs a degree in how to open such things, yes there is a way with all of them but why would one need to read seperate instructions before proceeding. I suspect its all to do with with simple theft and if one looks at where these things are now made it doesnt take a lot of seducing of the reason why. Poor populace countries see these goods in front of them and the chance to make good is too great.

Member
Julie Hunt says:
24 August 2013

I’ve cut myself on a ring pull can several times, and sometimes the ring comes off in trying to open it as its not strong enough to pull the lid off! – I then resort to a tin opener which doesn’t always work at this point! Lethal! I much prefer the old type of tin!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If you have a problem with the ring pull, you can always turn the can over and use a can opener on the base.

Ring-pulls are fine on drink cans with aluminium tops, but with steel food cans they are not as good and present a real challenge to elderly people.

Member
Joanne Hodgson says:
24 August 2013

Jam jars – got that sorted out. I used to spend time over 3 or 4 days trying to open them with no luck, but found if I put some hot water into a measuring jug and then put the jam jar into the water upside down so the lid is just covered, leave it a while, the lid comes off – reasonably easily especially if you use rubber gloves or a cloth. Those who own an AGA can just put the jam jars upside down on the top of the AGA for a couple of hours and they then open.

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
24 August 2013

We once spoke to a lady who left them i the sunshine. Probably Ok for jam, not sure about mayonnaise….
And we shouldn’t have to. A tip from me. Use your left hand if you can and a rubber glove.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

The difficulty of opening jars is that these are under vacuum, so that the lid is held against the rim of the jar, greatly increasing the twisting effort to remove the lid.

Piercing the lid with a sharp object makes removing the lid much easier, but this is risky, particularly if the weapon chosen is a sharp knife.

What is needed is a heavy duty of the spring loaded tool that diabetics use to draw a small drop of blood for testing. Do we have any developers who would take this on? If such a device is already produced, please let us know.

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Member

I long ago discovered that with vacuum packed jars, all you have to do is put a screwdriver or a teaspoon under the lid and lever it up slightly to let the air in, after which it unscrews easily.

Profile photo of wavechange
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This works fine on many jars, but needs a fair amount of force, Tosca. I do wish someone would produce a lid-stabber that could be used safely and easily by the elderly and disabled.

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Member

It does sometimes, you’re right, but there is a neat little plastic implement sold by Lakeland which does the trick without much forces at all.

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
25 August 2013

Hiya All,

We did some work on this a while back. There are a host of methods people use from hitting it to using hot water, a tea towel etc etc. We also tested the devices that you can buy, the rubber lasso etc. The best performing tool was the ‘spillnot’. It’s a moulded plastic tray with slots that sit the jar in.
As i said failing that, if you can use your left hand and a marigold that may also help.

Member
James Spencer says:
24 August 2013

Opening a pack of biscuits, although there is usually a plastic string to help with opening the pack, the first half dozen or so biscuits are broken or completely crumbled. It is not easy to tell.

Member
Crazy John says:
24 August 2013

I agree with most of the comments here with regard to tins. The most lethal I find are the tins of meats with the keys that remove a strip of metal leaving two razor sharp edges to pull apart in order to get to the contents. I also find tearing/opening those little packs of mayonnaise, tomato ketchup etc. hard, invariably I get covered with the contents of these packs! It’s amazing how much of the contents suddenly squirts out when I do manage to open it!

Member
old kitkat says:
24 August 2013

Battery run tinopeners always say no sharp edges but one can slice cheese with the empty tin and one can easily cut oneself. Ring pulls and jam jars are now easy because I purchased from Temps L something called a ‘Handy Fish’. (I am 80 years old with arthritis.) I have gone back to a can opener with a winder, that leaves tins blunt, the lid is still sharp but obviously so, and so one takes care.

Member
Sylvia says:
24 August 2013

I agree with all comments on jars and tins. The other culprit is hard plastic which is razor sharp after it is cut with scissors! Surely, in this day and age, we can purchase correct packaging. There are a wealth of suppliers out there who are willing to talk to the client and meet their exact needs.

Member
Kayj says:
24 August 2013

Thanks for this campaign! Please keep the good work up! Although in my 50s I have developed a mild form of arthritis and without several gadgets at my disposal I would fail to break into or open many of today’s products. Products that require real hand strength with pressure I now simply avoid and find alternatives. However, I find those products that require me to cut across the shell wrapped item whilst trying to avoid it at the same time are a real menace and I rarely come away unscathed.

Member
Nel, Edinburgh says:
24 August 2013

Ring pulls on tins are a nightmare. Some you have to pull so hard the pull comes off and then an old fashioned tin opener comes into play! There is also a great possibility that the user will cut themselves trying to pull the can open. Health and Safety issue ???

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Tin cans are a nightmare. In fairness the problem is the tin openers. From cheap to expensive, they majority are made in China. They are generally made of inferior material. The drive cog in them is not up to the job for which they are designed, resulting in half-opened cans which we writhe at in frustration. I recently bought one not made in China, after much searching. In the days when such products were made in Sheffield this problem didn`t arise!

Member
Doreen M S Nightingale says:
24 August 2013

Even small packages are hopeless for opening, eg a littlle bar suitable for children – however do they manage?: the plastic is too tough. Also dishwasher tablets sometimes, and lots of things like bars of chocolate which used to be so easy to tear open, but not so now. Some jars are easy, some unopenable: supposing you were entertaining and desperately wanted that particular ingredient? And how do old people manage with no-one around to call for help? It is rather a serious matter now and ought to be addressed. Glass jars are dangerous: I do call for help but am nervous in case the glass breaks in someone’s hands. Why should we have to buy gadgets.to help us? The manufacturers should test containers first but it hardly seems these days that anything is tested before going out.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Just complaining that people struggle with packaging is not enough, since these problems have existed for years, and I have seen little progress beyond a cleverly designed jam jar lid. We need some input from those who support those with disabilities. Information about the number of accidents due to packaging would be useful too.

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I think that manufacturers whose products cannot be opened ought to have their managing directors put on television and forced to demonstrate how to open their products. There are thousands of items which have to be NOT able to be opened or gained access to ‘without the use of a tool’. Some packaging requires tools more complex than that required to open a 13A mains plug. Why should a 13A plug be easier to open than a toothbrush?

Member
Fadrienne says:
24 August 2013

Squeeze and twist bottles (loo cleaner) are impossible for weak hands. I have an assortment of tools on my workbench to cope with opening. I can lever ring-pulls with a suitable stick and use a Y shaped opener with a stabiliser for most bottles. But when necessary I have hammered a screwdriver through the top of a bottle of pickles leaving lethal edges and thrown away sardines when the ring pull has failed and the tin opener couldn’t cope with the tight corners of the tin. I am increasingly preying on my guests, friends, visitors et al to de-cap purchases. I would prefer a ‘Clyde-Built’ product as opposed to an impenetrable package.

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Member

A simple device that I use opens effortlessly vacuum-sealed jam
jars (and the like) by securing the lids tightly and simply twisting
and it’s done.

Nothing cd be simpler.

Member
Steve C says:
25 August 2013

Hi, my pet hate regarding packaging is the type of plastic used for rice. Tears in the plastic run like a ladder in nylon stockings. A slight nick will end up with half the contents on the floor.

Member
james Chelmsford says:
25 August 2013

Your survey says it all- and I thought I was alone!

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
25 August 2013

Hiya to all,

That have commentated. Keep the stories coming. I’m keen to find out about problems but also items that you don’t buy because they’re problematic. It’ll help Which? and myself keep the pressure on.
Thanks.

Member
stephen says:
25 August 2013

As many have said tin cans with ring pulls are awful, either the ring pull breaks completely and a tin opener has to be used or the pull is so hard you damage your fingers and often finish up with a lid only half removed.

The other big inconvenience I find are cucumbers which supermarkets wrap so tightly in film that the only way to remove it is with a knife which presents its own dangers.

I once bought an electric razor online it was delivered with no problem but it took two of us with scissors and a knife over an hour to remove the packaging. Surely excessive

Member
jane scott says:
25 August 2013

I’ve noticed that medicines which are prescribed for, and used by the elderly are often difficult to open because one needs strong hands/fingers to undo the lids or caps. I have resorted to jamming the lid of a container in the hinge of a door in order to open it, and I have only mildly arthritic hands.
It seems that a lot of packaging is designed and tested by supermen. Surely it would be sensible for packaging companies to find out what the problems are for the consumers, women in particular who have real difficulties with lids on jars.
Let’s hope this campaign will have the desired effect.

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Cannon printer ink cartridges are impossible to open without a very sharp tool & who wants the “free” photo cards anyway?

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Once you have opened some things, especially medicines, a magnifying glass is required to read the instructions, why, why, why? Thoughtless, even cruel manufacturers of products for the elderly.

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This is a bit off-topic, but it is something I feel very strongly about. I do not know the correct procedure but it may help to alert both the pharmacist and your GP. Many drugs are available from more than one supplier and the size of print and helpfulness of the information can vary significantly. A large pharmacist may be able to provide an alternative brand providing that the medicine is out of patent and the GP has not specified a particular brand.

Member
Robert says:
26 August 2013

I am surprised that tins are still a problem as most have a rip tab these days. These also leave a pretty smooth cut edge too. (failing that the tin openers that cut the top off the side, rather than the more traditional top surface as shown in Which’s Friday email are far better and require less strength)
Tip: seen used by plane cabin crew – use a teaspoon to lift the ring pull up first.

Jam jars and the like have not been a problem – perhaps those who need help could ask shop to open/redo the lid at the checkout.

For me the worst offender is the hard clear plastic bubble round many items, such as a mouse or tin opener (I think some refer to this as a clamshell). I find the only easy way is to cut it open with kitchen scissors; struggling with no scissors to hand is the only time I’ve been injured in the last decade. Ripping that plastic open can expose some sharp and jagged edges.

Member
john says:
26 August 2013

B&Q emulsion paint “basket” shaped containers. The plastic tag on the corner is removed easy enough but then try to get the lid off !!! mind your fingers

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I have a packaging ‘cracking’ kit in a kitchen drawer and in the past ten years I can’t think of anything that has defeated me. For jars, I use a rubberised pad the size and shape of a saucer and that gives me a really good grip. Occasionally, I have to also add a strong pair of rubber gloves for extra grip on both hands. For cans, I have a Culinare Magican hand operated opener which also had a separate ring pull gadget with it and I now have no problem opening round cans or using ring pulls. One end of the ring pull gadget lifts the ring up a bit from the can lid and you then use the other end to lever off the lid. Inaccessible packaging had not yet defeated me or my kitchen scissors and stanley knife nor have I been injured by either the kit or the packaging. Electric toothbrush packaging was the most difficult to access. I complained to OralB several times over the years and I’m happy they have now made it easier to get at their toothbrushes, without compromising my hygiene.

I bought a Magican opener for my 87 year old mother after her 18 year old can opening grandson went away to university and she used it independently until she died at 92. She loved being able to open her can of creamed rice and microwave it herself without asking anyone else to help. We should all think of the elderly and disabled and their right to independence and complain vociferously to manufacturers if we have difficulty gaining access to their products.

Easier accessible packaging must not compromise product safety though.

Profile photo of wavechange
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I nominate you as our expert in dealing with difficult packaging, Figgerty. 🙂

It would be good if manufacturers would get together and sort out the problems, so that every item in your kit becomes unnecessary.

As you say, safety is important. For example, having jars that are easy to open increases the risk that they will be opened in the supermarket, but most have a button on the lid to check if they have been opened.

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Figgerty figures it out [of the packaging]. Just don’t go out at night with that lot up your sleeve as it is still an offence to be “going equipped”! We find an old steak-knife works wonders on various types of packaging made from cardboard or plastic. For anything else a miniature angle-grinder would be a useful implement.

I think the shrink cellophane that encloses the screw caps of some products [e.g. Marmite] and splits if interfered with is a cheap and effective way to defeat tampering. It should mean the jar lids do not have to be put on with super force although in my experience they usually are. There ought to be a kiosk in the supermarket – after the checkout – where you can take your purchases to have them expertly and safely opened.

Thinking about the elderly, and the infirm of all ages, it’s about time the major food producers and retailers took the initiative and used their clever people to do something helpful rather than constantly applying their minds to more ingenious ways to trick us into spending more than we need to. They could start by putting the most popular lines for this market segment in more accessible positions in the aisles and making the labels clear and easy to read. So far as I know, cereal packets are the only ones that actually tell you how to get into them. No doubt some idiot will come up with the idea of supplying a free Band-Aid with every can or clamshell.

Member
Alaster Yoxall says:
27 August 2013

The big problem for change has been that for man brands and retailers it’s a trivial issue. Indeed i believe the term ‘frustration free’ packaging which has become the norm pretty much sums the approach. Not getting into something is a ‘frustration’ a mere inconvenience….it’s a term i hate. I believe for a lot of people it’s more than an inconvenience.
The other problem is as people’s ingenuity shows. People find a way to get into the stuff so in the end it becomes a ‘non-problem’ for the brand owners/retailers. The good thing about the which? survey is the degree to which people don’t buy stuff cos they can’t get into it. This should concentrate minds I hope.
It’s just a long slog. I urge people to keep complaining and keep telling me your stories.

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Alaster

How about giving us a few more examples of familiar products where the packaging is clearly superior to that of competing items, like the example of jam jar lids already discussed. Obviously it is necessary to take into account the effectiveness of packaging in doing its job.

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Only this morning I needed to puncture 3 small holes with a skewer, then drain almost half a litre of liquid out it. Then repeatedly hit it with a hammer whilst rotating it in the other hand.

Still, was a very nice coconut once I’d gotten into it.

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Contrast this with the banana, which can be opened without touching the part that will be eaten. No wonder bananas are more popular than coconuts.

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I haven’t read through all the postings yet, so I don’t know whether my “worst” tin to open has been mentioned. I have never ever opened a tin of corned beef without cutting myself, so I haven’t bought one in ages………perhaps they are improved, but it’s still the key on the side of the tin.The other bad one for me at the moment are some ring pulls……such as on small tins of sardines. More often than not, the ring comes away when pulled, and the rectangular tins are awkward to then open with a can opener.

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There is a very good reason why pineapple rings are sold in round tins, but no reason other than tradition for corned beef to be sold in tins that are difficult to open with either the tear-strip or a can opener. There is an obsession with health and safety in the workplace, but it seems OK for companies to expose the general public to unnecessary hazards. What a crazy world we live in. 🙁

Member
grumpy old ### says:
31 August 2013

I’ve had numerous packaging problems over the years, but the worst I’ve come across is the Fray Bentos pies in a circular tin.
Has anyone mastered the art of opening one of these? I’ve tried a number of different can openers, including an electric one recently purchased.
I will not purchase any more until they’ve changed the tin design.

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The postman has just delivered two small Kitchen Devils knives, which had the blades encased in tough plastic. After thinking it amusing that a knife would need a knife to extract it from the packaging, i realised that a couple of small cuts with a pair of scissors was all that was needed to allow the knife to be withdrawn. So well done Fiskars for making the job easy, but why not point out what to do for those than dive in rather than study the packaging?

Member
Hua Dong says:
24 March 2016

At the CWUAAT2016 Conference in Cambridge , researchers from the Inclusive Design Research Centre, Tongji University, revealed new insights into packaging operability based on their studies in China. Red wine is among the top most difficult to open packaging for Chinese elders