OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Lucky Soy Fish

Redesign the iconic soy fish packaging, including compostable material, single material use, simplified manufacturing.

Photo of Luise
0 2

Written by

The Lucky Soy Fish - Redesigning an Icon

We don’t have to argue that the iconic soy sauce packaging isn’t great.

It is great in many ways, however, fails in too many aspects, too.

When rethinking consumption behaviour, the takeaway food market is a challenging field, that most of us can relate to. Most probably we are guilty of using and throwing away huge amounts of packaging, that we have probably only used for several minutes.

This is a great challenge.

(While submitting the idea we have also noticed the Sushi topic has been addressed in from other participants. That confirms the urgency of our mission, which certainly only addresses a small problem of many)


The fact that in 2025, more plastics than fish (by weight) might be present in our oceans. This is reason enough to tackle all sorts of packaging failures, however, the irony of this project makes it even more attractive to redesign and rethink small size packaging.

Takeaway Sushi is a world wide market, generating 2.25 M USD per year only in the United States, this marks an increase of 28% to the previous year. In Australia, a 2011 survey tracked 115M sushi serves in 1 year, which is likely to be higher now, through health food trends and increase in take away consumption in general. Not only fish, but meat, poultry and vegetarian options are steadily increasing the variety of serves.

Time to re-think!

Analysing the current design:

Lid: A secondary material (PP/HDPE) is used, manufactured in a different process. It is argued that the top is resealable, which is a questionable benefit for clear single use item holding a 3ml capacity.

Shape: The Fish shape emphasises the context of purpose (in case we wouldn’t know what to use the item for) The high recall value is striking and it is globally recognised. This denotes great value, which should be exploited.

Tail: Apart from being part of the fish shape no functional use is identified. On the negative side, it just requires additional material.

Material: PE (Polyethylene) is actually recyclable, however, due to the small shape and contamination and mix of materials the item hardly finds its way into recycling facilities.

Manufacturing: blow moulding is suitable for high quantities and makes engraving/branding possible.

Make the Soy Fish Great again.

Lid: Eliminated!  in order to reduce materials used, single use doesn’t require resealing.

Design a happy fish face instead, which aims at clear differentiation from competitors who are not using sustainable packaging.

Shape: Keep! Fish shape emphasises context of purpose, plus: we would like to base the campaign on marine pollution in order to raise awareness and developing a unique selling proposition. Product variations, featuring different species of fish (education background) and different sizes (1,2,3 sushi roll serves)

Tail: The clue! We can use the tail shape to facilitate easy tear/twist-off for the new outlet.

With the eliminated lid, no additional packaging element is needed, no drip design, optimal serve for one sushi roll. (The tear line is not completed through to avoid the tail bit from falling off.)

Material: The key! Use compostable corn-starch/plant starch PLA material, which is decomposing into natural substances. There are food-grade options widely available. The proposed material is a corn-starch PLA (oil, fat resistant)

Manufacturing: High Scalability through blow/injection moulding that facilitates

Engraving/branding options to be offered to soy sauce production companies.

Idea Title

Lucky Soy Fish - redesigning the soy sauce fish!

Company / Organization Name

The Hatch Conspiracy: we are an international group of designers, engineers, business professionals experienced in eco-innovations.


Where are you / your team located?

Most of the team is based in Australia, but also Germany and Indonesia.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

The famous soy fish packaging is at its base recyclable about lack practicability, die to size, contamination and suitable recycling infrastructure. This case is determined by small format packaging, food contamination and locations of disposal (mainly city, public bins). Thus, we are moving away from the recyclability objective to favour compostability, even in landfills.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 1: Rajata (developing country citizen): single serves could offer them a more affordable way of accessing certain goods. I pack of lucky soy sauce might only cost several cents. Being compostable, it eliminates her worry about disposal. Mark (every modern citizen) who uses single use packaging and takeaway food options. Saatwika (waste collector) needs to be educated on compostable materials. A universal symbolic should be developed to label recyclables, compostables, residues.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Starting in the APAC region, due to the wide acceptance of sushi take away and current trends in food consumption. Collaboration with a soy sauce manufacturer such as Kikkoman (premium segment) to access the established market.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Yes. Once implemented in the APAC (including Japan) region, the US market (2.25M$) is the most important step.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

More material research needs to be conducted, testing, consumer feedback, feasibility studies with large scale manufacturing, degrading behaviour, acidity resistance. After a successful accelerator program, the technical aspects are ideally 100% clear, even leading to various applications for new packaging types. The program would help to establish a crucial partnership with major soy sauce manufacturers e.g. Kikkoman.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Our flagship project is the ecoFin, using recycled post consumer waste from Indonesia for a surfboard fin. After establishing the product successfully in the market, the way led us to more circular economy exploration and the everyday applicability of eco-ideas.

Tell us about your work experience

FiveOceans as the main projects in the last years started with a successful crowdfunding campaign led to numerous university talks, new entrepreneurial ventures and eco-product development projects.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

Australian based partnership.


Join the conversation: