Quaker files patent on expandable package for heated food

by Jeff Gelski
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The invention addresses spillover protection as well as shipping costs.

CHICAGO — An international patent from the Quaker Oats Co. relates to reducing the headspace between the food inside a package to be heated, such as in a microwave, and the package’s lid. The reduced headspace should save on shipping costs.

The food package has a bottom, an inner sidewall and an outer sidewall, according to patent No. PCT/US2014/059721, which was published April 16. A series of hinges connects the inner sidewall and the outer sidewall, which allows the package to be converted between an expanded configuration and a collapsed configuration. When the package is in a collapsed configuration, a lid may be sealed to one or both of an inner rim and an outer rim.

The patent relates to foods that are cooked or consumed at elevated temperatures prior to consumption. They may include chili, soup, cheese sauce, salsa, dips, oats and oatmeal.

Headspace between the food in the package and the lid is needed to provide spillover protection. The more headspace involved, however, the more shipping costs increase because the headspace reduces the density of the food package as well as larger groupings of the cartons of food packages.

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