Playing with Food Packaging: The Kaju Katli Tangram Edition

Disclaimer: The application/product so developed is solely for the purpose of reasonable trial/experimental purpose only.

In India, sweets are such a big deal during festivals and thankfully so. As we grew up, we may not have understood why we celebrated a particular festival, but we surely recalled every one of them with the sweet or savoury associated with it. Deepavali was an assortment of everything from laddoos to kaju katlis and pakoras. Ganesh Chaturthi was synonymous with modaks. Pongal had both the sweet and savoury versions of its namesake dish. Lohri was incomplete without til ke laddoo. These sweets were a symbol of celebration, a nice gift to exchange and a signifier of prosperity and familial bonding.

We, at Bizongo, found it also to be a very interesting theme to work on. Which is why, for this week's 'All things quirky', we decided to find a new and quirky way to pack kaju katli. Why kaju katlis? These cashew fudges were our favourite and it afforded a way to 'have the kaju katli and eat it too'.

Kaju Katli Box

Design Thinking and Research

Once we had decided we were designing a new home for kaju katlis, we went into research mode. We found out that these sweets were sold in the markets in traditional cardboard boxes with butter paper on top. Once people consumed the sweets, the boxes were discarded. And considering the number of sweets we consume as a nation, that's a lot of boxes we are talking about!

Kaju Katli Packaging
Image Courtesy: Times of India

How could we change this?

Maybe, if we make the packaging interesting enough or find a good use for it, we could reduce the amount of packaging waste that would mount during festivals.

How could people reuse packaging?

People used cookie tins as sewing kits and bangle boxes, all the time. But we weren't satisfied. We wanted something unique, more interactive and with an element of fun that usually went hand-in-hand with festivity. That is when we hit upon the idea of tangrams.



(noun; plural noun: tangrams) a Chinese geometrical puzzle consisting of a square cut into seven pieces which can be arranged to make various other shapes.

Kaju Katli Packaging : Tangram Edition

What could these Chinese puzzles have anything to do with kaju katlis? Nothing until now. But when you think of it, it's a great way to package sweets. There are many advantages to these presents. Firstly, it is great that once the sweet is consumed, the packaging becomes an interactive plaything. Tangrams are for all ages and hence transcend to becoming a family game. Received too many kaju katli boxes? No problem! The game gets bigger and better. Add the tans and make more interesting shapes out of your imagination.

Kaju Katli Packaging : Tangram Play Things

Another advantage is that these seven tans would divide the bigger box into seven smaller boxes, making it easier to share or allot sweets to a large family or the diet conscious. The tans also make for a very attractive packaging, while giving the sweets within an interesting and unseen shape.

We were really beginning to like the idea!

We began cutting chart paper in the form of tans for practice and found to our utter amazement our entire team discarding their desks and trying to make cool shapes with the tans. With that as motivation, we decided to go ahead with making the final prototype.

Kaju Katli Tangram Shapes

Kaju Katli Tangram Edition: The Final Product  

We found a cool cookie cutter on Etsy and on Connox that helped inventive bakers to shape their cakes and bakes in the form of tans. Empowered by the knowledge that it will be easy to cut out fresh batches of the sweet with such cookie cutters, we designed the packaging.

The Kaju Katli Tangram Edition comes in a black square box that opens on the top to reveal seven 'tan boxes', each enclosing the delicious sweet within. A small square insert detailing the game and giving a few interesting shapes that one could try is placed within the box.

This way, the packaging continues to be a part of the user's life, lending a timeless value to a gift of sweets. While we have designed the prototype with paper, the design is easy to replicate in any material of choice - plastic, cardboard, etc., based on the manufacturer's wish. The packaging is flexible enough to be applied to other items like chocolates, sweets, etc.

We thoroughly enjoyed designing the packaging and downing some kaju katlis on the sly. And more than anything else, we delighted over creating new and inventive shapes with the tan. While the internet will provide you a number of them, your imagination could probably dig out many many more.

Design by Soniya Bhase; Text by Sandhya Ramachandran

The Kaju Katli Tangram Edition is the third in the series of innovative packaging designs produced by the Bizongo Design Lab. Combining fun and food, the box enclosing this cashew fudge is shaped in the form of seven pieces/tans that the consumer can play with to create interesting shapes, extending the experience beyond just consuming the sweet.