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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sustainable Food Packaging Inspired By Origami

I admire good packaging. If you knew me, you would understand why.

It's why I wanted to show you this wicked-looking package, which if you have read the headline, you realize is a folding paper(board) container designed to look like origami.

Origami, as you hopefully know, is the Japanese art of folding paper into simple or intricate shapes. 'Ori' means folding, and 'kami' means paper. The 'k' becomes a 'g' in origami due to something called RENDAKU.

I can barely fold a piece of paper in half without a police squad becoming involved, so I have always been impressed by those who can take a simple piece of paper and create a work of art.

Of course, I used to be able to do that when I actually wrote stories with a pen and paper rather than keyboard and screen.

This origami-inspired package comes from Guactruck, a mobile food service take-out restaurant situated in Manila, Philippines. This eatery serves up Mexican-inspired Filipino cuisine. Sure. Why not? But it's not simple greasy-dive, fast-food takeout.


Guactruck is more than that, as evidenced by its keen eye to packaging detail.
Blooming great package!

While this packaging is truly a work of art, it was created with sustainability in mind. Manufactured from a single piece of paperboard, and keeping with the pure traditions of origami, the package is constructed without any type of adhesive. And, as we all know, paper is biodegradable. Mmmmm. How green is my guacamole?

The design, as you can tell, looks like a the bud of a flower - and when it is opened up, it definitely looks like a blooming flower! Awesome!

For your amusement and mine, I have counted the actual folds diecut into the package. No wagering.... there are 38 folds that a machine has made.
Machines make the pattern, Guactruck staff fold the paperboard.

Now... I'm not 100% positive of this, but if I am the company cutting the paperboard pack for Guactruck, I'm pretty sure it is shipped flat to the food guys... that means that the staff, in order to place their freshly cooked Mexican-Filipino dishes in it, must first construct the package. And if you take a close look at the flat open package, and what it looks like closed, this is a precise piece of work, and looks to be a tad time-consuming.

Oh, the sacrifices one does for one's art!   

According to Guactruck (which I take it is a mash-up of 'guacamole' and 'truck'):
"The design for the packaging is a creative solution to the wastefulness that most containers are today with its single cardboard, origami-inspired design. It’s made of biodegradable paperboard that is easy to recycle... All of the cutlery used is made from cornstarch and biodegrades within 90 days."

Cutlery, too? Fantastic!

Guactruck is not offering standard greasy, junk food one could purchase from a truck (at least here in Toronto, that is all we get! Fries, burgers, hot dogs...  Sucks!). The proprietors not only create some tasty-looking dishes, but they wanted a packaging design to focus on creativity and aesthetics, all the while desiring something sustainable.

While the packaging itself is biodegradable, Guactruck has come up with (for me, here in Canada) what appears to be an innovative way to encourage recycling of its packaging.

Guactruck encourages its customers to return the used packaging with the incentive of obtaining a free meal in exchange for 10 returned packs. The returned packaging will then be sent to the proper local channels for recycling.

So... Guactruck has not only created an awareness of sustainable packaging and recycling, but has also instilled a habit of conscious and conscientious consumerism.
Brilliant logo!

And, just so you know, the Guactruck truck itself uses LED and energy-saving lighting.

Guactruck - thank you for being so international, using Japanese-inspired packaging design with your Mexican meals in the Philippines, so this Canadian guy could share his food with the world.

Sorry. That last paragraph was corny. Article over! I'm hungry! Guacktruck! Do you deliver?

by Andrew Joseph


  1. Wow, its really cool. I have heard so many in my life that packing things is an art. I know people who pack thing with the paper using interesting tricks. I love your food packaging style.

    1. It IS cool, isn't it? I'm useless when it comes to wrapping presents or even tying my shoelaces (slip-ons and velcro fasteners for me! More for convenience), but yes, a good looking package presents eye-appeal to the customer and at the very least will make someone look at the product. For fast-food? This is simply amazing. People should hopefully only be interested in the food, but Guactruck is showing it cares about presentation of the food and how it cares about sustainability when we are done eating the food. A very progressive company... though... one wonders about the energy spent to either drive to a location or to power the truck while it cooks the food. Hopefully, the engine need not run all the time spilling noxious fumes into the air.

  2. This is what you call creative packaging designs. What a great talent in creating a packaging design.

    1. Thanks for writing Alex... I have no idea what company created the design - wish I did, but yes - what a talent!

  3. Thank you so much for the very flattering article Andrew. As for folding the packaging, it's actually quite fast once you get the hang of it. It probably takes about the same time as folding an average takeout box. And the designer is Michealle - one of the owners.

  4. Wow! Thank you for writing! Michealle - what a wonderful design concept! You are one very talented person! I also love the whole look of the food! It looks like a work of art - and I'm sure it is tasty. Presentation, good looking food, and tasty food, recyclable packaging! Wow!
    Hey... if you ever felt like sending me an empty package - I would appreciate it!

    1. Please do teach us all for the craft of it or make a you tube video🏆

  5. Your blog seems very informative, Thanks for sharing this kind of information. Your blog was very helpful for me. Keep further posting.

    Food Packaging

  6. It's simply what I was looking for. Is there a tutorial or key words to search for this tutorial.
    I made pastry I know not the healthiest, but I was on a quest to search for boxes that some what look identical to my Swarovski aura box. This is the closest identified. Just want to know how to even go about the template and practice them.
    If you know if it's available kindly let me know.