Screw the polio vaccine! Philippe Meert has just solved the worst humanitarian crisis in history:
IN theory at least, pouring a bowl of cereal is one of the simplest tasks imaginable. But early-morning grogginess can wreak havoc on a person’s eye-hand coordination, occasionally turning the act of dishing out corn flakes into a messy adventure.
Philippe Meert has experienced that messiness firsthand. Four years ago, while on a business trip in Los Angeles, he tried to start his day with a healthy breakfast.
“I poured cereal into this bowl, and a lot of the cereal ended up on the table,” said Mr. Meert, a product designer who lives in Erpe-Mere, Belgium.
That convinced him that the traditional method for transferring cereal from box to bowl was flawed — the flakes, bits, or O’s tumbled forth too quickly, thanks to the gaping size and irregular shape of the holes torn into the bag inside each box.
But that’s not all!
To correct this age-old design flaw, Mr. Meert developed the Cerealtop, a yellow and red plastic cover that latches onto a cereal box and channels its crunchy contents through a resealable, trapezoidal hole. In addition to preventing accidents, the Cerealtop is intended to preserve freshness — and not to obscure the cereal box’s graphics.
(“I love all the artwork on cereal boxes,” Mr. Meert said, referring to whimsical industry characters like Tony the Tiger and Count Chocula.)
Now he just has to convince people to shell out for it, rather than sticking with the time-honored American “feed-the-dog” technique for cleaning up edible messes:
AMERICANS certainly love their cold cereal, having spent $6.2 billion on it last year. One challenge for Mr. Meert and his distributor, however, will be to persuade consumers to forget about the so-called five-second rule, the shaky premise that spilled food remains edible if it is retrieved within five seconds of being dropped on table or floor. Serving early-morning cereal may be prone to error, but that does not necessarily mean that much of it goes to waste.
(Tip o’ the nib to iocaste over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money.)