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

The New Juice Box

Reimagining the microsystem of the juice box to remove the straw, without sacrificing the pleasure.

Photo of Pearlfisher
5 3

Written by

Considering the coherent system and ritual of the "juice box" where we have the straw, the straw sleeve and the juice box itself, we've explored a reinvention of this microsystem without losing the functionality and inherently pleasurable sipping experience of using a straw.

The refinement phase has been focused on:

Prototyping the production and construction of the vessel
Our 3D designers created a number of initial prototypes of the vessel to test the production and construction process, finally perfecting a dieline that allows for a vessel with the integrated straw to be constructed from a single piece of material. Additionally, an engineered pattern of precise scoring now ensures efficiency for mass production.

Hosting testing sessions with international users
We hosted two test sessions in London and New York with potential consumers. The sessions took two parts:

  1. The first aimed to understand their existing behaviour around on-the-go (OTG drinks), their existing perceptions of juice cartons, the amount they’d be willing to spend on an OTG drink and existing barriers to purchase.
  2. The second involved testing and reactions to the physical vessel prototype, how it compares to existing drinks boxes, what people would want to see improved and potential barriers to purchase.

Questions asked during user testing:
General use and interest in juice boxes

  1. Do you buy drinks on the go? Which ones do you buy?
  2. Do you buy juice cartons? Why/why not?
  3. How much would you be willing to spend on a drink on the go?
  4. Specific structure in hand testing 

(Present juice box)

  1. Show us how you would use the box.
  2. What do you like about the vessel compared to existing boxed drinks?
  3. What don’t you like about the vessel compared to existing boxed drinks?
  4. What kind of liquids could you see in this vessel?
  5. What would be your barriers to purchase?

Key insights included:

  • People don’t tend to buy juice boxes, not because of the format but because they feel the product is inherently unhealthy
  • People are willing to spend, on average, £2 on a OTG drink but the price is dictated less by the format and more by the product. The price appetite ceiling in the US (New York) is comparably higher – approx. US$7 – but again largely dependent on the product itself.
  • People loved the new structure - they discussed how the like the experience of the ‘pop’ open of the box
  • Although people said they wouldn’t not buy a boxed drink currently because of excess plastic, they did comment on the guilt they feel when it comes to disposing of the plastic, and so they liked the innovation of the straw being contained in the structure of the vessel
  • Barriers to purchase included the size - consumers spoke about how they would like a smaller format or a resealable option - and the hygiene factor of the straw - from the prototype, they weren’t sure how the straw would be kept clean in transit and at retail. Additional barriers to purchase include perceived taste based on the substrate for the liquid (with a noted desire to avoid an overly "papery" taste).


Extending the usage beyond simply a ‘juice’ box

  • The initial concept started as ‘The New Juice Box’ but we quickly realised during refinement and testing that the innovative new format of the integrated straw within the vessel could be extend beyond just juice to include water, coconut water, flavoured waters and squashes, milk, protein/nutrition drinks. This also became clear during consumer testing.
  • We are therefore now positioning it as a ‘vessel’ rather than a ‘juice box’.


Developing the hygiene factor of the section of straw your drink from

It was always our intention that the end of the straw would be covered with a seal that can be ripped off to ensure that the part of the straw that users drink from would be kept sterile during transit and in retail. However, the feedback and testing phases illustrated that this was not made clear so we feel it’s important to reiterate this point.


Developing and simplifying the construction process to ensure we can keep costs to a minimum for potential clients for whom production and cost efficiency are paramount

  • The refined structure has created a vessel with the integrated straw that is able to be constructed from a single piece of material. Additionally, the engineered pattern of precise scoring ensures maximum efficiency for mass production.
  • Rough cost estimates for production are included below:

By our estimations for GB/Europe, our costs are not in the material use – however, if we are sourcing specialized material this will increase by 30% to consider elements such as line speed impact and capital expenditure investment needed to potentially alter the erection of the carton, filling, sealing etc. 

Our rough estimation at this stage, based on our experience, is that material may cost as little as 0.2pence per unit, with capital expenditure for development and testing to machinery in the approximate realm of EU80,000.

Given a typical piece of this machinery is approx. EU170,000, we would be exploring feasibility and potential partners to make such a serious investment in machinery



Clarifying best material choice 

When defining the best material, it was important to consider the following key criteria for the vessel:

  • The vessel must be made entirely of one material to ensure recyclability
  • The vessel must be able to retain liquid
  • The vessel must be made of a material which enables printing to ensure it can be branded
  • The vessel structure must provide a similarly pleasurable drinking experience as existing juice boxes


With this criteria in mind, we have therefore decided to move forward with a recommendation to explore a carton board and film laminate – utilising a polyolefin film to provide the barrier and a recycled carton board to provide structural integrity.

Idea Title

From 3 to 1: The New Juice Box

Company / Organization Name


Website - we are a global team from Pearlfisher who are passionate about sustainability.

Where are you / your team located?

Pearlfisher's global teams are in New York, San Francisco, London and Copenhagen.

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

This Idea specifically looks to consolidate the number of unique elements inherent in the juice box microsystem. It seeks to create efficiency by moving from 3 unique elements (box, straw, straw sleeve) into 1 (box only), without sacrificing the straw-suction element so beloved by consumers.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Our Idea applies directly to Case 3, which speaks to the small format case of straws. We're looking at providing a solution to the personas of Anne, who owns the coffee shop, and Nigel, the park cleaner.

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

Global, however preliminary focus is in the UK and US based on our expertise.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Beyond the prototyping and testing phases, our vision would be to introduce our ideas to existing and future partners within the CPG and Hospitality spaces. Barriers include manufacturing, supply chain management and quality control, which would be mitigated through a rigorous testing process and close consultation with manufacturers and their partners to ensure viability.

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.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

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

Our goal is to move beyond concept and to delve further into a deeper materials explore and test around structural feasibility before moving into prototyping and the piloting of our program. Working with the TBP Accelerator Program will give us additional access to experts in the field, as well as enhance our network to ensure our solutions are both viable and reproducible at scale.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Our idea emerged from our initial research and follow-up brainstorms and concept work, and was carried out by Pearlfisher's global teams in New York, San Francisco, London and Copenhagen.

Tell us about your work experience

Our cross-functional team has a background ranging from industrial to graphic design, engineering to communications, with expertise in branding, consumer packaging, material futures, and strategy.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

We are a Partnership.

Please explain how your solution will impact user behavior, and what design considerations you've included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions with your Idea. 

In our initial interviews with our rough cardboard prototypes, consumers felt that our structure was intuitive and intriguing - however there is still feedback that necessitates refinement to ensure that we are achieving on impact, usability and general appeal.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

To conduct additional testing with our with the selected materials format to ensure it is liquid resistant and to understand where we can continue to reduce the use of plastic within the product itself. Begin the process of commissioning prototypes.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lauren Ito

Hi Pearlfisher !

As Refinement Phase quickly comes to a close in LESS THAN 7 HOURS, I want to remind you that the following must be submitted by tonight, August 31st at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

1. Submit the Refinement Questions Form online that was sent again via email yesterday evening--we have not yet received this from you. These questions are mandatory for Top Ideas consideration, so this should be your first priority in the final stretch.

2. A secondary priority, which is optional, is to update your Refinement Phase post.

If you have any questions, please email

Looking forward to reviewing and celebrating the amazing work you've achieved this Refinement Phase!

Photo of Pearlfisher

Thanks, Lauren! We're in process to finalize and upload our supporting files.

Photo of Lauren Ito

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Pearlfisher!

There are 7 days left in the refinement phase.

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Pearlfisher!

Welcome to the refinement phase! Nice designs!

What sort of price point are you expecting for the Juice Box? How does that compare to standard juice boxes?

How recyclable is the juice box?

I look forward to seeing a physical prototype of the box.

I am sure you are experts at this but there are two ideas in previous challenges that you might want to check out:

Friendly ATM - - a top idea from our financial longevity challenge has a great example of rapid, low budget prototyping and gathering feedback from customers. The use of video to demonstrate the prototyping/testing session is really good.

Stairwear - - is a great example of low fidelity prototyping and filming and gathering feedback from the user at the same time.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by tagging me here (@ followed by my name) or send me an email -

I just want to remind you that the deadline to complete the Refinement Questions via the online submission form is August 31 at 11:30 p.m. Pacific Time.