Food Packaging: Pourable straw
Nippon Straw, a manufacturer of drinking straws based in Tokyo, has created the Ex straw that facilitates smooth pouring of a package’s contents into another vessel. The company developed the product especially for individuals who have difficulty drinking with a straw, such as infants and the elderly.
The concept not only allows the contents of a container to be fully poured out, it also creates an easy drinking experience for consumers lying down. Izumi Horiuchi, Nippon Straw corporate officer of overseas sales, says the Ex straw could be used for a wide range of applications, such as feeding infants in hospitals and treating bed-ridden patients in nursing homes.
An “inlet,” located on the part of the straw submerged in the container’s liquid, allows complete pouring and creates a pressure that adjusts the pouring flow. A ridge above the inlet, called the “stopper,” indicates the insertion point of the straw and prevents the straw from falling out. The mechanism also prevents fluid from spilling out of the straw, even if the container is tipped over.
A bendable hinge allows the drinker the flexibly to adjust the position of the container in any direction in relation to his or her mouth. Additionally, the outlet, or drinking end, is designed to ensure a regular flow with no excess drips.
The Ex straw is most commonly used to drink or pour viscous or “jellied” beverages out of brick packages, but Horiuchi reports customers are beginning to use it to pour condiments and cooking sauces out of bigger containers.