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Old 09-25-2005, 10:09 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Questions about spices? I need Help.


My name name is Joseph, a graphic design student at UW-Milwaukee. I am working on a package design project and could really use your input. Below is list of questions I have created to find out a bit more about you. (My intended audience) Please feel free to add any additional information that may help me get a feel for your lifestyle, likes, or dislikes. Also, if you have any questions for me please list at the bottom of your response.

If your are at all interested, I will post my designs at the end of the project.

Best Wishes,


Questions for high quality spice packaging design:

1. How many meals a week do you cook? What spices do you like to use?

2. Are you more likely to prepare food for family, or friends?

3. What type of food do you most like to prepare? Why?

4. Which age range best describes you? A. 16-29 B. 30-45 C. 45-56 D. 57+

5. Describe the most unexpected delight you have had with a dish. Where did this surprise root from? Did it change your opinion for that certain dish?

6. Explain a good, and bad food experience you have had at a dinner party.

7. Where do you keep your spices? Does this space allow for many sizes of spice containers?

8. What colors do you associate with an appetizing dish?

9. How do you expect high quality dried spices to be packaged?

10. What is your favorite spice brand? How would you change it to approve the overall experience you have with it?


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Old 09-25-2005, 11:17 AM   #2
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I started answering these questions and realized I don't have that much time, as I'm supposed to be readying my house for it's open house this afternoon....
but I will say that cooking is my love, I really enjoy cooking for any and all, and aside from cumin, all spices are my friends. I have three shelves in my kitchen devoted solely to spices. They are housed in different ways: I have some of those lazy-susan racks designed to hold baby food bottles, I have a shallow shelf for all my little spices, and did I mention that all my spices/extracts are alphabetized?

(PS - a while ago I started a topic called "that one spice you just don't like". You may want to do a search on it, as it may answer a lot of your questions!. Also, good luck in this, and I know we'd love to see your designs)

Come visit my foodie blog: www.SockmonkeysKitchen.com
This week's topic: Pinterest and Potatoes
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Old 09-25-2005, 02:32 PM   #3
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J M Handy,

As a fellow design student (doing grad work in Landscape Architecture) I understand the importance of user-end research and the perils of surveys. The questions you ask are more suited to in interview format. Try to interview local professional chefs and gourmet food store owners, it has been my experience most people will give you 20 minutes. Call parents of your fellow students, talk to who ever does the cooking. When doing a survey, go with a dozen “yes/no” questions or Likert Scale questions. Then end with no more than three open ended questions. Most people don’t have the time type survey of the scope you presented.

That said I will answer some of your questions because that’s all time, or inclination I have.

I am 33 and I cook good food 4 days a week for myself and my wife. I usually cook Italian or French and my favorite spices are salt, black pepper, red pepper, basil, parsley, nutmeg, and dill. Why do I prefer Italian and French cooking? Got me, it is what I like to eat. My spices go in a cabinet next to my stove, I would assume that they are packed somehow, I don’t want to carry them in my hand. Colors I associate with appetizing, I agree with the psychological studies on the subject. Warm colors such as red, yellow and orange stimulate appetite, while cool colors suppress it. I fell an exception is green in very appetizing. Finally, I am not sure if you are doing logo or packing design, but I would like small spice containers to be square in shape with labels on the cap. This way they could be stacked and more containers would be visible when looked at from the side.

If you know anyone on the design college to make digital 3D models, see if they will help you with your presentation graphics. Labels are easy to apply to 3D models and spice jars will be easy to model. Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2005, 05:33 PM   #4
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Hi Joseph,

I fear your questions may be a bit too open ended to obtain the information you desire.

I am not sure if my drunk Aunt Sofie going face down in the soup course was the best or worst experience I had at a dinner party, but it sure was memorable.

I guess you are trying to find out something about spice packaging.

And the tale of reviving Aunt Sofie is not going to help you, I think.

My guess is that if you go back and restructure the questions so they can be easily answered and will give you the information you need, I think you will find the very kind people at this website more than happy to lend a hand.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:38 AM   #5
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High quality spices and high quality packaging are two different things.The best spices are whole and brought into countries in large quantity,vacuum packed with moisture and volitile oil percentages.Good suppliers and quality assurance procedure is the most important,not packaging.But if you're looking for different design templates or ideas
regarding what might appear to be a highend design for packaged supermarket spices
then probably design related websites might get you better results.IMO
I used a microwave once.....just once!
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:41 AM   #6
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I spend a lot of money on spices and herbs.

Packaging means nothing to me. It doesn't influence my decision at all.

Quality and price. That's it.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:48 AM   #7
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I totally agree with Jenny, but would add one thing. The packaging should be airtight. Other than that I could care less about the packaging as long as the spices are fresh and great quality.

My favorite spice brand is Penzys because of their quality. I usually buy their stuff which comes in a plastic pouch with a plain sticker saying the name of the spice. Nothing fancy at all, but boy are their spices great!
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Old 09-26-2005, 05:19 PM   #8
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in all honesty, many spices and herbs are put in bottles that are way too big for the average family. While someone baking an apple pie a week might need a big bottle of ground cinnamon, another family might use it once every two months. Some common herbs and spices do come in small bottles and that's great, but many of the fancier and thus less used ones only come in the big size...should be the other way around.
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Old 10-05-2005, 04:54 AM   #9
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It's hard to go back and forth to get the questions in order, but here goes. I'm down a bit in the number of meals I prepare per week (hubby was diagnosed with diabetes and has taken more control of his own diet) but I'd say about 10 meals a week. When I entertain these days it is for friends, but when I lived closer to them I cooked for my extended family at least weekly. In the winter lots of soups, stocks, and stews, in the summer anything that doesn't need a lot of heat. Why? I don't have central A/C. Light fare just tastes better after a hot day anyway. I'm 50, hubby's 58. I suppose curries and other Indian foods would be the answer to that one. I tried making a curry when I was 20 or so, and hated it. Didn't try Indian food again at all until I was 30-something and had it in Hong Kong. Now I make up large batches of various flavored curries (Indian, Thai, etc) and constantly have a serving in the freezer. I love everything about it, and we cannot get that kind of food around here. I once had a freind bite into a beef rib, hit a vein, and splash blood all over herself and her husband. Luckily she is a good freind. They wiped up and kept on eating. I use a couple of rubbermaid turntables on the lowest "upper" shelf in my cupboards. I buy my spices all over the place, sometimes in jars, sometimes bulk, sometimes in bags, so always have a lot of different size and shape jars. If I lived in Madison I'd probably only shop for spices at Penzey's, but here I have a spice guy who buys in bulk and repackages into small ziplock bags. I save jars of the appropriate sizes to store them in. Mom taught me that a nutritionally balanced meal has as many colors as possible. She was right.
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:54 AM   #10
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I do major cooking about twice a week, making enough so that I will have left-overs to utilize in other dishes. My husband is a good cook, and he usually cooks something on Sundays. The spices I use most, other than S&P, are garlic, basil, Italian parsley, thyme. My husband uses a lot of Bayou Blast (Emeril's Bam) and Tony Chacheries Cajun seasoning. We also use a lot of Tone's garlic/herb seasoning (it's a great mix), Lipton's onion soup mix, and Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix.

We cook for both family and friends. My motto is "feed'em up and love'em up"!

I am 58, and HB is 60.

I tried a recipe for Szechwan Peanut Chicken that combined peanut butter and Pace Piquante Sauce. It sounded strange, but was delicious!

I think the worst food experience was one Thanksgiving. We'd had an early frost, then a long mild spell, and I had a bunch of nice broccoli in my garden to serve with my meal.
I always keep spring broccoli dusted, but one doesn't think about needing to do that in the fall. I also usually soak fresh broccoli in salt water before cooking, but again, I didn't see any need for that since it had been cool.
The whole dinner was just about ready when I put the broccoli in the pot. Everyone was hanging out in the kitchen, so I didn't say anything when a little green worm floated to the top of the boiling water. I just scooped it out. But then came another, and another, and suddenly there were more little green worms than I could scoop out. I casually asked my guests if they preferred green beans or peas. HB wanted to know what was wrong with the broccoli. My father, a strong man with a weak stomach, spotted the worms, and just about lost it.

I've had a lot of good experiences at dinner parties, but I guess one of the best was after we'd lost several members of our immediate family, while at the same time our kids had been having babies, and I looked at my loved ones around the Thanksgiving table and realized that my house was filling back up.

I keep my spices in the pantry where it's cool and dark.

I like to see lots of colors on the plate. I use paprika on cheese and potato dishes for color. I use lots of sweet red and green peppers, and lots of fresh parsley and basil. When I make chicken soup or chicken and dumplings, I use a few drops of yellow food coloring in my broth to make it look really rich and buttery.

I like the big rectangular see-through jars best for my spices. They fit well on my shelves, and I use them up fast enough that they don't get old.

I like Tone's spices, Frontier Herbs, and have recently been dealing with Marshall's Creek Spices, a small company with a great product. I also grow a lot of my own herbs...sage, thyme, chives, basil and parsley...and use the empty Tone's jars to store them in.

We get by with a little help from our friends
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