Caring About Tearing and Sharing

01 April 2016

I like crisps and I like convenience, so when I saw the new Walkers Tear ’n’ Share bag I thought it deserved closer inspection:

This pack describes itself as a bag and a bowl. It has a gusseted top and bottom to make the pack stable to sit on a surface.

When you place your thumbs on the clearly marked areas and press - it does open like a dream. It even has the pop sound like you get when bursting a bag of crisps in the old nostalgic child like way of clapping the bag between both hands.

It’s easy to open and forms an impressively stable bowl with a wide opening so fulfils all its functional promises.

All very impressive, but I do wonder if the pack might be serving a non-existent need. When I have family and friends round and want to share savoury snacks or crisps, I usually get a suitable bowl and tip the snacks into it. I’m not sure that a branded open crisp bag is the look many want for my table of cold snacks.

If I’m in a pub with friends and feel obliged to share my crisps, I employ the ritual of opening the bag down the back seam and the lay them out on the table in an open platter style arrangement for all to share. 

Understanding  and working with rituals and behaviour are key to designing effective packaging in the snacking sector, and I wonder if this design has really considered consumer behaviour as much as technical design.

Only time will tell if this clever piece of material engineering is providing a solution to a real problem that people are prepared to pay for. On hearing yesterday that my local Co-Op store is no longer stocking the line after only a matter of weeks, I fear not.