Simple Genius: A Juice Bottle With Built-In Portion Control

Why doesn’t every juice company have something like this?

Portion control: It’s the dieter’s holiest mantra. But hardly anyone has time to sit there meticulously measuring out every last ounce of dinner. That explains the proliferation of individual-serving packages, which are great in theory, except that they’re terribly wasteful—all that extra plastic and cardboard just to dissuade us from stuffing our faces.

Here’s a solution by d-school student Emily Brownson that manages to promote portion control without resorting to excessive packaging. It’s a large plastic juice bottle with a single cup-sized sphere on top. Squeeze the base of the bottle, and the sphere fills with juice, giving an instant visual of the recommended serving size. Each bottle holds eight servings, making it more environmentally friendly than, say, eight separate bottles.

What isn’t clear is how you then get the single serving into your glass. There should be some sort of lock at the base of the sphere to prevent you from accidentally pouring more than a cup.

Keep in mind that Brownson designed Frugo for a class project at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and I suspect that engineering a fancy locking mechanism went beyond the parameters of the course. Leave it to the big juice companies—who’d be wise to adopt if not this, then something like it—to figure that one out. As a loose concept, Frugo shows that it’s possible to discourage both the over-consumption of food and the over-consumption of food packaging.

UPDATE: Brownson just informed us that bottle would indeed trap the juice in the sphere. She explains, in an email: "I was inspired by Act mouthwash bottles that have the top portion of their bottle filled when the bottom is squeezed. So the closing mechanism would be like that. The pressure from squeezing the bottom portion of the bottle forces the juice up the straw and is then released in the top portion. … In order to construct this mockup I used various parts from a plastic bottle from Walmart, a Pom juice bottle, and an Act mouthwash bottle."

[Images courtesy of Emily Brownson; h/t to The Dieline]

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  • Yael Miller

    This is a really nice concept and immediately brings to mind the squeeze-portioning packaging format for some mouthwashes (like Act for Kids).

    I could see this idea being adapted for food in other ways, like:

    - Portioned liquid creamer in relation to serving size
    - Pre-measure quantities of common baking/cooking liquids (like lemon juice)
    - Stronger beverages that come in smaller containers (like an espresso shot)

    Great idea!

  • damiansen

    Not genius if the notion of portion is something that varies a lot across different contexts

  • Emily Brownson

    Thanks, I was not aware of this and did not find this company when I researched names.  I came up with Frugo by combining the words fruit and jugo, which is the term for juice in Spanish. 

  • Dave Oliver

    Nice concept. Pouring it looks pretty straight forward, to me anyway, and the valve isn't that big of an issue, there are mouthwash bottles on the market similar to this. A bigger issue may be keeping the portioning cup from getting sticky and unappealing looking after dispensing and leaving a little juice behind a few times. 

  • Riley Florence

    I would imagine it works just like the ACT mouthwash top that requires a little pressure to actually fill the top cup. Simply turning it upside down will not pour out more liquid. I assume, and that's dangerous.