AN award-winning package for an anti-diarrhoea pack for the developing world has had to be dropped to reduce costs. It will be replaced with a simple screw-top jar.
Social entrepreneur Simon Berry developed the pack, which was lauded for the way it easily slotted between bottles in a Coca-Cola crate.
In an article in design magazine Dezeem he commented: “For our supporters who find this move disappointing, I ask you please to keep focussed on the greater good.” He added: “Our primary purpose is not to win awards.”
The Kit Yamoyo product – dubbed an “aidpod” – is being repackaged to reduce costs and increase the number of retailers that stock the product.
Berry, whose ColaLife organisation developed Kit Yamoyo, wrote: “We listen, we learn and we act. What our customers, in poor, remote rural communities are telling us is that many of them cannot afford the subsidised price tag. So the pressure is really on to seek every means to reduce costs.”
Despite winning multiple design awards in 2013 including the Design Museum’s Product Design of the Year Award and the Observer’s Ethical Product of the Year Award, Berry admitted that the novel strategy of distributing the life-saving product alongside Coca-Cola bottles wasn’t proving effective.
“Only 8% of retailers have ever put the kits in Coca-Cola crates to carry them to their shops,” he wrote. “This feature wasn’t the key enabler we thought it would be.”
The kit’s plastic blister packaging featured a removable film cover and a contoured container shaped to fit between cola bottles in a standard crate.
Referring to the various awards received for the product, Berry said: “I’d like to think we’d got these awards because of how the components of the Kit Yamoyo product and the packaging work so well together to meet the real needs of caregivers/mothers and children. The way the packaging is integral with the whole kit design, acting as a measure for the water needed to make up the ORS [oral rehydration salts], the mixing device, the storage device and cup.
“But deep down I suspect that it’s the fact that it fits into Coca-Cola crates that really gets the international community so excited.”
However Berry has concluded that putting the kit in a standard screw-top plastic jar would make it both cheaper to manufacture and more appealing to both retailers and consumers.
“At this point, the natural thing to do would be to relax and bask in the glory of all of this fabulous recognition of our work on something so meek as an anti-diarrhoea kit,” wrote Berry. “We are not designing sexy gadgets or cars after all.”
The kit contains sachets of oral rehydration salts, zinc, soap and an instruction leaflet, with the packaging doubling as both a measuring device to mix the solution and a cup from which to drink it. It provides effective treatment for diarrhoea, which kills more children in Africa than HIV, malaria and measles combined.