Mysteries of the Cereal Box

Take a look at your cereal box and you'll find that they have either one of the two closure methods shown above, slotted or slotless. But why? And which one is better?

Paul Lukas is coo-coo for cereal closures and told us everything we wanted to know about cereal boxes but were afraid to ask:

As for which format is best, every source agreed that the slotted style's tendency to rip and tear is highly annoying. Not only that, but several of the experts identified another important distinction: The slotless style requires less male/female overlap, so the flaps can be shorter. That saves cardboard — sorry, paperboard — which translates to lower costs, greater sustainability, lighter shipping loads, and so on.

So with the slotless design appearing to offer superior functionality and greater efficiencies, why would anyone stick with the slotted format? "Some people think the slotless version feels less secure, because there's less overlap and less of a lock," said Pat Shields, Director of Structural Design at the box manufacturer Rock Tenn. (He also added, "When the slot rips, at least it gives you an outlet for expletives. Hey, we're there to serve.") And Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor of the trade magazine Packaging Digest, said, "For flour-based products, maybe the larger overlap could help prevent insect infestation."

So that's what the slotted style has going for it: It offers a false sense of security, gives you an excuse to cuss, and maybe keeps the bugs out.

Read the rest over at New Republic: Link


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Around here, cereal goes straight into a plastic container (air-tight, bug-free); the box straight into recycling. Damn packaging. (Yeah, I know, prevents crushing; needed for marketing...)
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