Great Ideas and Innovations: Fresh and Functional Food Packaging Firsts


Why do Chinese food packages have wire handles? Who thought up the idea for the milk carton and the tin can? And, what’s with carbonated water? Why is that a thing? Here’s some insight to amazing inventions that we take use every day and take for granted.

The Can Opener

The modern metal can opener can be traced back to Ezra Warner. Metal cans, called tins, could preserve food for a long time. But, the problem was opening them. They were first invented in 1810 by inventor Peter Durand, and there was no uniform or standard for opening them.

Unbelievably, the way people used to open them was by using a hammer and chisel. This obviously could create quite a mess, and the results weren’t always consistent. It wasn’t until Warner invented the can opener some 50 years after the invention of the first canned food product that the world changed forever.

Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt

Who doesn’t love ice cream? Invented in the second century B.C., this frozen treat has captivated people for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1800s, however, when ice houses made it easier for the common man to enjoy this dessert. And, in the late 19th century, new inventions gave birth to the American soda fountain and “soda jerks.” The rest, as they say, is history.

It should come as no surprise that, in the 1970s, America’s love of ice cream morphed into a love for frozen yogurt. By the 1980s, when the low-fat craze was in full force, frozen yogurt was pitched as being at least as delicious and healthier than its high-fat brother.

Many frozen yogurt shops sprung up, using these frozen yogurt cups to market to kids and adults alike and the trend has never really died down.

Carbonated Water

People have enjoyed naturally carbonated water since pre-historic times. But, it was the English chemist Joseph Priestley that bottled water and carbonated it, creating the first artificially carbonated water in 1767.

Then, in 1770, the Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman invented a device for making carbonated water from chalk and sulfuric acid.

The Bar Code

Most people never think about the lowly bar code, but without it, we wouldn’t have developed our modern industrialized country. These small coded labels were first invented in 1948, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they became common in grocery stores.

Chocolate Chips

They go in cookies. They go in ice cream. In fact, you don’t need an excuse to eat them – some people put them straight into their mouths from the bag. It was Ruth Wakefield who made it all possible in 1930. Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass. Her cookie became known as the Toll House Cookie, a name that’s still popular today.

Cotton Candy

Cotton candy is standard carnival fare today, but in 1896, it didn’t exist. William Morrison and John Wharton, candymakers, invented it – calling it “Fairy Floss.” They invented a device that heated sugar in a spinning bowl with tiny holes in it.

As the bowl spun around, the caramelized sugar was forced through those holes creating what we call cotton candy. They first introduced it to the world at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 for 25 cents a box.

Christopher K. Jimenez is a sales manager. He likes to share his insights on the internet. His articles can be found on many business websites.

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