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May 23, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Yoplait yogurt container

YoplaityogurtLaura Decker writes:

There are two things wrong with the Yoplait yogurt container.

Problem 1: the seal.

To open this  container, you have to pull off a metallic seal.  These metallic seals used  to have tabs on them so that the seal could be easily pulled off.  But, for  some reason, the company stopped making the seals with tabs!  So, instead of merely just pulling a tab,  you must now either dig under the seal with your fingernails or your spoon,  which is more difficult and time-consuming.

Problem 2: the shape of the container.

Notice that this container is tapered at the top.  The yogurt  containers of other companies are tapered at the bottom, which makes perfect  sense.  With this container, it's hard to get a spoonful of yogurt from the container to your mouth without  some of the spoonful being caught by the edge of the container.   Ugh!

It's not necessarily "broken," but poor product design nonetheless.


Time to switch to Dannon and your life will once again be easier.

Posted by: Tim at May 23, 2005 06:51 AM

It's just another example of:

Designer: "Everybody else is doing it that way, so we will do it this way to be different"

Client: "They all do it that way because it works. So our's won't work? I guess that will be different"

Posted by: Josh Hallett at May 23, 2005 08:56 AM

It's tapered to make you feel thinner.

I didn't say it was a *good* reason.

Posted by: Slim Jim at May 23, 2005 10:34 AM

I think the print is up-side-down and you tried to open the wrong side.

Posted by: mb at May 23, 2005 10:44 AM

My intial thoughts is that this is one of those fruit on the bottom ones, and if you flip it over so the writing is upside down then you can open the "bottom" and get to the great fruit without having to eat any of the nasty yogurt. Never actually having eaten or purchased yogurt, this is just a guess though.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 23, 2005 11:04 AM

Oh, and if you try to contact Yoplait, the bottom of the contact form includes this wonderful disclamer:

Without limitation, General Mills shall exclusively own all now known or hereafter existing rights to the suggestions of every kind and nature throughout the Universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the comments for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise without compensation to the provider of the suggestions.

All your ideas are belong to General Mills

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 23, 2005 11:08 AM

The real problem with the container is animals getting their head stuck inside. Skunks seem especially at risk.

Posted by: Dave J. at May 23, 2005 12:36 PM

On the, er, upside, you can flip over an opened container of this and if you haven't stirred it or otherwise disturbed the contents it stays in place. Woooo.

Posted by: mikelietz at May 23, 2005 12:58 PM

poor deprived jw, he's never had yogurt.

Posted by: Bob at May 23, 2005 01:26 PM

ok, this is my favorite kind of yogurt...i have to say i have never had a problem opening the container or getting the spoonful of yogurt out without spilling some. could you be having a bad day and taking it out on a yogurt container? between myself and my spouse we go through 15 yogurts in a week...we've never noticed a problem...

Posted by: mo at May 23, 2005 01:46 PM

I haven't touched Yoplait in years because the first (and last time) I did, I discovered the the package is designed with a false bottom that makes the already tiny serving even smaller than it looks.

Perhaps that's changed but I like the Greek style yoghurt from Trader Joe's much more any how.

Posted by: Steve at May 23, 2005 01:54 PM

i am not a consumer of yogurt myself, and many people who have eaten this particular yogurt and have posted here, say that it is not a problem. Now, as for the link provided by Dave J. doesn't it concern you guys, not that the animals are getting stuck in these containers, but that they are being thrown about in the open intstead of sealed inside plastic bags in large garbage containers.

Design is broken, so are the consumers.

Posted by: Dragon at May 23, 2005 03:46 PM


Posted by: vcgb at May 23, 2005 05:03 PM

Well, not into yogurt but the shape is so that when it's sweating a little it can easily slip out of your hands and you have to buy more.

Marketing 101 ;)

Posted by: itzme at May 23, 2005 07:20 PM

Wonder what would happen if the container got a bad case of wanderlust when you were holding it?

Posted by: Administrator00192 at May 23, 2005 08:15 PM


Posted by: Administrator00192 at May 23, 2005 08:16 PM

I eat this bran, you have to peel off the edge all the way around, just pull it like a string, then the lid folds off. Of course it'd be nice if they TELL you this, anywhere. I figured it out after about a year, or 300 of them. Definitely broken.

Posted by: Robert at May 23, 2005 11:57 PM

The skunk killing aspect is a wonderful idea. I shoot them every chance I get, but unfortunately they mostly come out at night. Now I’m going to be putting Yoplait yogurt traps out at night!

Thanks for the great idea!

Posted by: Skunk at May 24, 2005 09:55 AM

Have about 15 of these in my fridge thanks to the wife and kids. Each of them has the tab on the lid. Maybe the missing tab is limited to a particular packaging plant or run of lids or something, but it isn't missing from any of ours. This thread led me to try one, with two observations:

One, Yoplait is pretty good. Not sure it is good enough to justify the premium price, but nonetheless pretty good.

Two, the angle of the taper is so slight that I had no issues getting all the yogurt out. The oddball design does significantly differentiate the product on the store shelves, so I imagine that Yoplait is accomplishing just what they want to accomplish with an acceptable (read: minor) risk of turning off those who don't like the package.

Hey, the submitter still bought it, right?

Posted by: Erich at May 24, 2005 11:20 AM

While still remaining broken, there is a simple solution to all of your yogurt opening woes.

Stab it with your SPOON.

*insert Robin Hood quote here*

"But why a spoon, cousin?"


Posted by: MinkOWar at May 24, 2005 12:23 PM

1. The false bottom is annoying and gives you this strange sense for a moment that your depth perception might be off...

2. The taper makes it difficult and annoying to scrape things out of the bottom.

3. Purely as a matter of opionion, Yoplait is too thick, creamy, and fatty. Perhaps, as Slim Jim said (3rd post), it is tapered to make you feel thinner... maybe that is meant to offset the yogurt's fat content...

Forget about Yoplait. Just eat Dannon. And if you need anymore proof that Yoplait is bad, remember it is served on airplanes...

Posted by: Socrates at May 24, 2005 03:33 PM

"1. The false bottom is annoying and gives you this strange sense for a moment that your depth perception might be off..."

The conspiracy, un-covered!

The wierd taper is there to make the false bottom less noticable! They were trying to trick your eye into thinking that it is deeper!

Posted by: MinkOWar at May 24, 2005 04:14 PM

These containers are great. They don't tip over when I put them on my 3-yr-olds car breakfast tray. She doesn't have a problem opening them or using them. Of course I have to wipe off her whole face when finished, but that's not a brand-related problem.

Posted by: Jean at May 24, 2005 04:14 PM

"The wierd taper is there to make the false bottom less noticable! They were trying to trick your eye into thinking that it is deeper!"

This is probably true and is a very interesting theory... however, if it is true, it is a very strange thing for the company to want to do. Don't the majority of yogurt eaters want to lose weight or stay fit & healthy, and thus would want it to be obvious that the portion was smaller?

Posted by: Socrates at May 24, 2005 04:41 PM

Here in suburban North Carolina, our city recycling service won't take plastic bottles unless the top neck is narrower than the bottom. A rather arbitrary condition, I've always thought, but at least we can recycle our Yoplait containers!

Posted by: Mark Crummett at May 24, 2005 07:58 PM

I hate the Yoplait conatiner. I have been complaining for years about the tapered shape and the difficulty in extracting the product from the container.

However, my fridge is always full of them and eat them I do.

Posted by: makebusy7 at May 25, 2005 12:55 PM

I found a skunk staggering around my back yard with a Yoplait cup on it's head. Tried to lick the bottom and then couldn't get it's head out because of the tiny opening. After some tricky maneuvering, the skunk was freed, but it staggered away asphyxiated. Poor thing was probably brain damaged by it's Yoplait experience.

Posted by: stinky at May 25, 2005 02:05 PM

Maybe we could use that information to get PETA to ban Yoplait!

Posted by: Socrates at May 25, 2005 03:10 PM

Here is a response by Yoplait's automated response department...

Dear Mr. Wood:

Thank you for contacting Yoplait regarding the packaging of Yoplait yogurt. Our packaging design group continually experiments with new ways to offer our present products to our consumers. A successful package is one that provides greater convenience for the consumer, improves the freshness of the product it protects and/or provides a new way to present the product.

We appreciate your loyalty and hope you continue to enjoy our products.


Gerald Vanberg

General Mills

Consumer Services

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 26, 2005 10:51 AM

My Yoplait Complaint

All the single-serving size yogurt containers in the grocery stores where I shop hold eight ounces, except Yoplait which contains six ounces (but at the same or higher price as eight ounces). Noticing the false bottom that makes the Yoplait container look like it holds eight ounces makes me feel they are trying to trick me - that they take me for a fool. I resent Yoplait for trying to cheat me. Yoplait has the most attractive art on the sides of their containers, but when I am hungry for my money I would rather eat eight ounces of yogurt than six and look at a pretty picture of food. The yogurt cups with lids can be closed and put back in the refrigerator when I don’t want to eat eight ounces, which helps me avoid wasting food or overeating. I also wash and reuse the cups sometimes, but I have never been able to reuse or recycle a Yoplait cup.

Posted by: David at May 26, 2005 12:38 PM

umm, people, read the ingredients. you'd be better off eating the container.

Posted by: fresh at May 26, 2005 04:30 PM

Yeah, Josh Hallet and Steve are both right. The shape makes it stand out on the shelves, and also hides the centimeter or so of empty space in the bottom of the container.

It's all about marketing, they don't care how good it is to eat as long as you buy it a few times.

As for the tab-less top, well, i suppose tabs aren't in fashion anymore.

Posted by: no one at May 26, 2005 05:51 PM

Another thing nobody's mentioned is that the foil lids don't really seem to provide a great seal -- at multiple grocery stores we frequently find that the containers are sticky. Other yogurt brands and container designs don't seem to have this problem.

Who gets "fooled" by a false bottom?? The contents of the package are rather clearly marked on the container. It says 6oz right on the front. Furthermore, grocery stores (at least here in New England) display both the price per container and the unit price. Compare and save -- buy store brand.

Posted by: Brian St. Pierre at May 31, 2005 10:23 AM

I think that the container is like that so that those that want to lose wait have to fight the container to eat thus making them burn more calories.

It is a good theory because most all of the people that eat yogurt only eat it to lose weight.

Posted by: commentator at June 1, 2005 04:43 PM

I just cant resist telling you this is not broken and you are, this container works perfectly fine, did you just see the photo and start assuming things, or did you actually USED it urself.

Posted by: desmond007 at June 21, 2005 07:48 PM

anotherthing is they dont stack nicely. 20 dannon containers stack nicely in the corner of a average kitchen garbage can, thesame number of yoplait wold completly fill it to overflowing

Posted by: bustedboy at July 23, 2005 06:27 AM

So, are u saying that your hobby is stacking dannon containers in the corners of garbage cans? sounds like fun.

just to try it out, i ate tons of yoplait yogurt in about a week... all having tabs... and I especially enjoyed the fact that the container had the special indentation on the top of the container so I could scrape off the excess yogurt that might spill onto my lap...

so then, i ate tons of dannon yogurt (ugh)... i stacked up 20 yoplait and 20 dannon cans and noticed that it takes up about the same space, depending on the size of your garbage can and the method that you stack the cans in. so... you are wrong.

Posted by: me at August 20, 2005 04:49 AM

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