Development at the Production Stage
New Slim Tray for "Okina Okina Yaki Onigiri"
We developed a new, more compact package for our rice balls, which lie flat when stored and can be stood up for reheating. With the new package, the rice balls are tastier, crisper on the outside and lighter inside.
Customers wanted a slimmer, flatter package that was easier to store.
We got the idea of laying the rice balls down flat, after which we developed a new slim tray that can be used for both storing and reheating them.
* Slim tray: Utility model registration No. 3146274
1. The rice balls lie flat for a flatter, slimmer package
We previously packaged the rice balls in standing position, which made the package bulky and hard to store.
Then we got the idea of laying the rice balls flat.
2. We slimmed down the tray and designed it to make the rice balls even more fragrant when reheated.
Laying the rice balls flat was a good idea but also led to a few problems.
- Reheating was uneven and left some cold spots when the rice balls were heated in the tray.
- Steam collected in the tray, making the rice balls pale and soggy.
We solved these problems by changing the shape of the tray.
Position for standing the rice balls is clear
The slim tray has a center channel for standing the rice balls for reheating.
The tray carries the words "Stand here" to show where to stand the rice ball.
Standing the rice ball in the channel means that a smaller area of the rice ball is in contact with the tray, to promote more even reheating.
The new tray design means the rice balls are less likely to fall over while being reheated.
To fix the problem of the rice ball falling over during reheating, we designed the tray with a center channel.
The sides of the channel hold the rice ball firmly in place, so it's less likely to fall over during reheating.
The tray has a steam vent to allow steam to escape. The rice balls are crisp on the outside and light inside.
We made a steam vent in the tray to allow steam to escape and solve the problem of steam collecting in the tray.
It was hard to arrive at the correct size for the vent. Too small, and steam would not escape properly. Too large, and the tray would not be strong enough.
After numerous redesigns and testing, we arrived at a design for a slim tray that keeps the rice ball upright and allows steam to escape properly.