US20130320025A1 - Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods - Google Patents

Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods Download PDF

Info

Publication number
US20130320025A1
US20130320025A1 US13797206 US201313797206A US2013320025A1 US 20130320025 A1 US20130320025 A1 US 20130320025A1 US 13797206 US13797206 US 13797206 US 201313797206 A US201313797206 A US 201313797206A US 2013320025 A1 US2013320025 A1 US 2013320025A1
Authority
US
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
tray
upper
base
wall
serving
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US13797206
Inventor
Martin Mazzetta
Steven Swibel
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
MAZZETTA CO LLC
Original Assignee
MAZZETTA CO LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Images

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G23/00Other table equipment
    • A47G23/06Serving trays
    • A47G23/0683Serving trays with means for keeping food cool or hot
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G19/00Table service
    • A47G19/02Plates, dishes or the like
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D1/00Containers having bodies formed in one piece, e.g. by casting metallic material, by moulding plastics, by blowing vitreous material, by throwing ceramic material, by moulding pulped fibrous material, by deep-drawing operations performed on sheet material
    • B65D1/34Trays or like shallow containers
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D21/00Nestable, stackable or joinable containers; Containers of variable capacity
    • B65D21/02Containers specially shaped, or provided with fittings or attachments, to facilitate nesting, stacking, or joining together
    • B65D21/0233Nestable containers
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D81/00Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents
    • B65D81/32Containers, packaging elements, or packages, for contents presenting particular transport or storage problems, or adapted to be used for non-packaging purposes after removal of contents for packaging two or more different materials which must be maintained separate prior to use in admixture
    • B65D81/3216Rigid containers disposed one within the other
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47GHOUSEHOLD OR TABLE EQUIPMENT
    • A47G19/00Table service
    • A47G2019/005Table service for shellfish

Abstract

The present invention concerns a food packaging and serving tray that generally includes an upper tray configured to support and contain food items, and a base tray that receives the upper tray and supports it in various positions. The base tray has a plurality of attachment points located at at least two different heights relative to the bottom of the base tray. The attachment points serve to support and maintain the upper tray at at least two different heights above the base tray. A first, lower height corresponds to the serving tray being in a packaging state for when the food items are being transported and displayed for purchase. The second height corresponds to the serving tray being in a serving state, when the food items are being served for consumption by the consumer. During the serving state, the additional height between the base tray and upper tray allows ice to be arranged in the base tray in order to keep the food in the upper tray chilled.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates generally to food packaging containers and serving trays. More specifically, the present invention relates to a food packaging container and serving tray suitable for a variety of foods that is compact, stable, and provides for a way to keep food chilled while serving.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Many food packaging containers and serving trays are known today. In fact, nowadays, many serving trays begin as food packaging containers in which the food is packaged and kept until consumption. More recently, these serving trays have added the capability of holding an associated condiment or a container filled with the associated condiment. Such condiments may include, for example, fruit dip, caramel sauce, hummus, shrimp cocktail sauce, and the like.
  • [0003]
    Before food is packaged into or onto the serving tray, which may double as a food packaging container, the food is typically processed in some manner. With shrimp, for example, the pre-packaging process typically involves peeling, deveining, cooking, rinsing, and preserving the shrimp. Thereafter, the shrimp may be arranged on the serving tray and frozen for shipment and ultimate sale to consumers. More recent shrimp serving trays facilitate packaging shrimp on their sides, which may be more aesthetically pleasing than shrimp packaged on end.
  • [0004]
    Many pre-packaged food items, such as cut fresh fruit, cooked shrimp and cold cuts, are shipped and sold in a frozen state. Many such products are glazed with frozen water to preserve freshness or otherwise accumulate frozen water during processing. Foods shipped in containers used for both packaging and serving purposes are typically thawed in-place by retail consumers prior to consumption. While thawing, the frozen water turns to liquid and can accumulate in the bottom of the container, potentially causing the food to be served in while partially submerged in the liquid. Various methods have been developed to separate the liquid from the food, one of which is to use two interlocking trays that can be separated. When together, the upper tray acts as support for the food items and has drain holes that allow the liquid to pass through to the second tray, where it can be collected.
  • [0005]
    While processed foods that are shipped frozen need to thaw prior to being served, it is common that such foods also need to be kept chilled while being served. One simple solution is to place the serving tray inside another container that holds ice, resting the tray directly on top of the ice. As the ice melts, however, the serving tray may move around within the ice container, resulting in a unstable surface from which to serve the food. The tray may even tip over.
  • [0006]
    An attempt at a solution to the instability resulting from the ice melting is to combine the two-tray system described above as a serving system in which the lower tray can be used as a receptacle for ice and the upper tray can then rest upon the ice within the base tray. This solution, however, will still result in the instability of the upper serving tray as the ice in the lower tray melts. Further, as the ice melts and additional water accumulates in the bottom tray, there is a possibility that the upper tray will come to rest in the standing water of the lower tray, causing water to then accumulate in the upper tray through the drain holes.
  • [0007]
    Accordingly, there is a need in the food industry for a compact packaging and serving tray that provides for a way to keep food separated from liquid accumulating as the food thaws and to keep the tray stable and the food chilled while the food is being served from the tray.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    The present invention concerns a serving tray that may be used for packing, storing, and serving food. While the present invention contemplates that the serving tray may be used with a wide variety of foods, one embodiment of the present invention involves using the serving tray to package, store, and serve cooked, ready-to-eat shrimp and cocktail sauce.
  • [0009]
    In general, the serving tray may include an upper tray and a base tray that selectively cooperate with one another. The upper tray is generally sized a little smaller than the base tray such that the upper tray will fit inside the base tray. The upper tray is arranged in at least two states relative to the base tray: a packaged state and an elevated state. In the packaged state, the upper tray rests substantially, but not completely, inside of the base tray, such that a space remains between the bottom of the upper tray and the bottom of the base tray. This arrangement is optimal for shipping and storing. In the elevated state, primarily for when the serving tray is used to serve food, a smaller portion of the upper tray is inside of the base tray and a larger gap exists between the bottom of the upper tray and the bottom of the base tray. Ice can then be placed into the gap between the trays, if desired, to help keep the food chilled.
  • [0010]
    More specifically, in one embodiment of the present invention, the serving tray consists of two circular members. In other embodiments, the members can be other shapes, such as square, hexagon or octagon. The upper tray includes an outer wall disposed around the periphery of the upper tray and an inner wall located towards the center of the upper tray and concentric with the outer wall. A support surface extends between the base of the outer wall and the base of the inner wall. The support surface may support food, while the outer wall may help retain the food on the support surface and within the upper tray. The outer wall may be particularly helpful where the food is stacked in layers. The inner wall defines a well disposed at the center of the upper tray. The well may be constructed to contain a condiment intended to be served with the food. In the alternative, the well may receive a container holding a condiment. A lid may be provided to cover and further contain the food in the upper tray.
  • [0011]
    The base tray also includes an outer wall disposed around the periphery of the base tray and an inner wall located towards the center of the base tray and concentric with the outer wall. A bottom surface extends between the base of the outer wall and the base of the inner wall. The inner wall also defines a well on the base tray that is sized to selectively receive the well of the upper tray, particularly when the upper tray is in the packaged state. The structure formed by the well, the bottom, and the outer wall of the base tray may serve as a receptacle that catches runoff from food in the upper tray as it thaws or while being served. The base tray is also constructed to hold ice, as desired, to help keep the food in the upper tray chilled.
  • [0012]
    In a further embodiment, attachment points may be disposed in or along the wells and/or inner walls of the upper tray and base tray. The attachment points of the base tray can be constructed to support the attachment points of the upper tray. The attachment points of the base tray are arranged at two or more different depths, as measured from the top of inner wall of the base tray, so that the upper tray can be maintained above the base tray at two or more different heights. One set of attachment points on the well of the base tray may correspond to the packaged state, for example, while another set of attachment points on the well of the base tray may correspond to the elevated state where ice may be placed under the upper tray while the food is served. If ice is placed in the base tray, while in the elevated state, the upper tray may rest on the ice or on the attachment points of the base tray, whichever is higher. In the case where the level of the ice is higher, the wells of the upper tray and base tray are arranged such that the upper tray will come to rest on the attachment points of the base tray as the ice melts. Thus, the ice helps keep the food on the upper tray chilled while serving and the upper tray remains stable as the ice melts.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    Further embodiments and aspects of the invention are indicated in the figures and in the remaining description. The invention will now be explained in a non-limiting manner by way of examples depicted in the drawings. In the exemplary drawings:
  • [0014]
    FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a food serving tray.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1B is a side view of the food serving tray shown in FIG. 1A.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2A is a top view of an upper tray of the food serving tray.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 2B is a side view of the upper tray of a food serving tray shown in FIG. 2A.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2C is a top view of one embodiment of a lid that may be used with the food serving tray of FIGS. 1A-1B.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2D is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the upper tray of the food serving tray.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3A is a top view of a base tray of a food serving tray.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3B is a side view of the base tray of a food serving tray shown in FIG. 3A.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 3C is a perspective view of the base tray of a food serving tray shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 4A is a top view of a food serving tray having upper tray and base tray assembled in a serving configuration.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 4B is a cross-sectional view of the food serving tray shown in FIG. 4A.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0025]
    The present invention relates generally to food packaging containers and serving trays. It should be understood that a food packaging container may also serve as a food serving tray, and vice versa. For the sake of simplicity and as part of an effort to avoid redundancy, this description will refer to a food serving tray that may in some embodiments have been a food packaging container before the food was ready for consumption. Conversely, the present invention also contemplates that in some embodiments, the food serving tray may not have been a food packaging container. For example, one embodiment of a food serving tray may be non-disposable and intended primarily for food serving, rather than for food packaging.
  • [0026]
    Turning to the figures wherein like reference numerals represent the same or similar elements, FIGS. 1A, 1B are a perspective and side view, respectively, of a food serving tray 300 comprising an upper tray 100 and a base tray 200. In other embodiments, the serving tray 300 may also include a lid, such as the lid 111 shown in FIG. 2C and discussed further below. The upper tray 100 and base tray 200 may be formed of plastic or other materials, and may or may not be formed of the same material. In the embodiments shown, each of the upper tray 100 and base tray 200 are typically comprised of a single sheet of material, such as a single sheet of plastic. The upper tray 100 and base tray 200 are generally the same shape, with the upper tray 100 configured to be able to fit inside of the base tray 200. In the embodiment shown, the upper tray 100 and base tray 200 are circular in shape, and hence serving tray 300 is circular in shape. It should be understood that the serving tray 300 as well as the upper tray 100 and base tray 200 may take on a variety of other shapes.
  • [0027]
    The upper tray 100, one embodiment of which is shown in perspective view in FIG. 1A and in top and side views, respectively, in FIGS. 2A and 2B, generally consists of a support surface 102 extending between the base of an outer wall 112 and the base of an inner wall 114. In the embodiment shown, there is an elevated tier 124 surrounding the base of the inner wall 114. The support surface 102 then extends from the base of the elevated tier 124, which is raised above the support surface 102. In other embodiments, obviously, the support surface 102 can extend directly from the base of the inner wall 114. The outer wall 112 is disposed around the periphery of the upper tray 100, while the inner wall 114 is located towards the center of the upper tray 100 and is concentric with the outer wall 112. In the embodiment shown, both the outer wall 112 and the inner wall 114 are circular, but it should be understood that other shapes are possible and that the inner wall 114 may not be concentric with the outer wall 112. In the embodiment shown, the height of the inner wall 114 is equal to or less than the height of the outer wall 112. The support surface 102 supports a variety of foods that are served chilled and which may or may not be packaged and shipped while frozen.
  • [0028]
    The support surface 102 is slightly too moderately sloped from the inner wall 114 to the outer wall 112 and also includes a channel 106 around the base of the outer wall 112. Having a sloped support surface 102 will allow condensation, ice melt or other runoff from food on the support surface 102 to travel towards the channel 106. Channel 106 has one or more drain holes 108 that allow such runoff to drain from the channel 106.
  • [0029]
    The support surface 102 also includes a plurality of grooves 104 oriented radially outwards from the inner wall 114 toward the channel 106.. The plurality of grooves 104 assist in the draining of liquid from thawing food located on the support surface 102. In other embodiments the support surface 102 can additional include a plurality of ridges (not shown) in place of or in conjunction with the plurality of grooves 104 and the ridges can also be oriented radially outwards from or concentric with the inner wall 114. The ridges can help to maintain food in place along the support surface 102 during transportation and/or consumption.
  • [0030]
    The channel 106 is sized such that food cannot easily pass into the channel 106. The drain holes 108 in the channel 106 are particularly advantageous where the support surface 102 is angled such that runoff from the food travels towards the channel 106 and hence the drain holes 108. Runoff is seen especially with foods that are thawed from a frozen state just prior to consumption. Because the upper tray 100 of the serving tray 300 is typically positioned above the base tray 200, the drain holes 108 allow liquids from the upper tray 100 to pass into the base tray 200. Drainage prevents buildup of liquids around the food on the support surface 102.
  • [0031]
    The outer wall 112 helps maintain food within the upper tray 100 and on the support surface 102. The outer wall 112 is especially useful where food is stacked or arranged in multi-layer fashion on the support surface 102. In the embodiments shown in the figures, the outer wall 112 is configured in a generally circular shape and is outwardly sloped. In other embodiments, the outer wall 112 may be generally vertical.
  • [0032]
    At the top of the outer wall 112 there is a rim 110 which serves at least two purposes when the serving tray 300 is functioning as a food packaging container. First, the rim 110 is concaved down and configured to rest on a rim 206 of the base tray 200 when the serving tray 300 is in a packaging orientation. Second, the rim 110 may also be configured to mate with a corresponding channel on a lid, such as lid 111 shown in FIG. 2C. The lid 111 covers the food placed within the upper tray 100 before consumption. The rim 110 is pressed into an outer channel 113 disposed along the circumference of the lid 111, serving to hold the lid 111 in place. The lid 111 may be see-through such that the food contained in the serving tray 300 is visible to consumers and others. This is particularly advantageous where the food is arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
  • [0033]
    The inner wall 114 further defines a well 116, located at or near the center of the upper tray 100. The well 116 is capable of holding a container of condiment, which can be served along with any food on the support surface 102. Alternatively, a condiment may be placed directly into the well 116 at the time of serving, without a container. The condiment may be prepackaged with the food in the serving tray 300, or the condiment may be sold separately and added to the upper tray 100 at the time of consumption. The well 116 consists of a vertical surface 117 and a well floor 119, where the vertical surface 117 defines the contours of the well 116 within the inner wall 114. The well 116 also contains drain holes 108 in the well floor 119 to allow any condensation, runoff or ice melt that may come into the well 116 to drain into the base tray 200. In the case where the well 116 contains condiment directly, without a container, then no drain holes would likely be present in the well 116.
  • [0034]
    A top surface 120 of the inner wall 114 is shaped and sized such that it is sealed by an inner channel 115 on the lid 111. Conversely, the top surface 120 of the inner wall 114 is sealed with a separate cover (not shown) that encloses a condiment within the well 116. The vertical surface 117 of the well 116 includes attachment points 118 where the upper tray 100 is selectively attached to, secured to, connected to, or otherwise supported by the base tray 200. The attachment points 118 shown in FIGS. 1A, 2A and the other figures are purely exemplary, and may be described as cutouts, cavities, recesses, notches, carve-outs, or depressions in the vertical surface 117 of the well 116. In the illustrated embodiments, the attachment points 118 are shown as indentations in the vertical surface 117, which cause mirror protrusions (not shown) in the backside of the vertical surface 117 (away from the well 116). Each attachment point 118 has a seat 122 and two sides 123 that are generally flat and perpendicular to the vertical surface 117. The seat 122 is further generally parallel to the well floor 119. The backside of the seats 122 and the side walls 123 are in selective contact with a corresponding attachment point on the base tray 200 of the serving tray 300. While the purpose and functionality of the attachment points 118 are described in further detail below, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the attachment points 118 can take on a number of forms.
  • [0035]
    Another embodiment of an upper tray is shown in FIG. 2D. In this embodiment, the upper tray 100′ includes a second elevated tier 126 surrounding the inner wall 114. The second elevated tier 126 is located between the first elevated tier 124 and the inner wall 114. The elevated tier or tiers 124, 126 help arrange food items, such as shrimp, for example, in tiered, horizontal displays. Displaying shrimp and other food items in this manner may enhance the visual appeal of the food and serving tray 300 generally.
  • [0036]
    An embodiment of the base tray 200 of the serving tray 300 is shown in FIGS. 3A-3C, showing top, side and perspective views, respectively. Like the upper tray 100, the base tray 200 is formed of plastic in some embodiments. In general, the size, shape, and contour of the base tray 200 may to some degree parallel the size, shape, and contour of the upper tray 100. While food is being served from the serving tray 300, the base tray 200 can function to, for example, hold ice that chills the food in the upper tray 100, support the upper tray 100 just above the ice, and catch runoff from the food and condiments in the upper tray 100.
  • [0037]
    In the embodiment shown, the base tray 200 includes a bottom surface 202 extending between the base of an outer wall 204 and the base of an inner wall 210. The outer wall 204 is disposed around the periphery of the base tray 200 and is generally vertical in some embodiments, yet outwardly sloped in other embodiments. The configuration of the outer wall 204 matches the configuration of the outer wall 112 of the upper tray 100 in order for the upper tray 100 to fit into the base tray 200.
  • [0038]
    The inner wall 210 is located toward the center of the base tray 200 and is concentric with the outer wall 204. As shown, the height of the inner wall 210 is equal to or less than the height of the outer wall 204. The bottom surface 202, outer wall 204 and inner wall 210 define a space in which ice can be stored while food is served or consumed from the serving tray 300. While both the outer wall 204 and the inner wall 210 are circular in the embodiment shown, it should be understood that other shapes are possible and that the inner wall 210 may be a different shape than the outer wall 204.
  • [0039]
    A rim 206 is included at the top of the outer wall 204. The size and shape of the rim 206 is complimentary with the size and shape of the rim 110 of the upper tray 100 such that the rim 206 of the base tray 200 can be selectively positioned within, or at least adjacent to, the rim 110 of the upper tray 100. The outer channel 113 of the lid 111 is sized to clutch both the rim 110 of the upper tray 100 and the rim 206 of the base tray 200. Accordingly, the lid 111 can keep the upper tray 100 and the base tray 200 intact prior to serving.
  • [0040]
    A plurality of tabs 208 are disposed along the junction between the bottom surface 202 and the outer wall 204. In one embodiment, the plurality of tabs 208 may extend continuously around the full circumference of the junction. In such an embodiment, recessed inlets 216 can be formed in the spaces between the tabs 208. In other embodiments, the plurality of tabs 208 may only exist at various points along the junction between the bottom surface 202 and the outer wall 204. When the upper tray 100 is placed inside the base tray 200, the tabs 208 support the upper tray 100, maintaining a space between the underside of the support surface 112 and the bottom surface 202. This is particularly helpful while frozen food is thawing before it is served. Specifically, as food thaws, condensation otherwise may be released and travel towards the drain holes 108 of the upper tray 100. As the excess liquid flows into and collects in the base tray 200, the space created by the tabs 208 keeps the food in the upper tray 100 away from the collected liquid. It should be noted that in an embodiment having tabs 208 located continuously around the outer wall 204, the spacing between drain holes 108 in the upper tray 100 can be purposefully aligned with the recessed inlets 216 between the tabs 208 such that the tabs 208 do not plug the drain holes 108.
  • [0041]
    The inner wall 210 of the base tray 200 defines and encircles a well 212 as shown in FIGS. 3A, 3C. At the top of the inner wall 210 there is a flat upper surface 220. The inner wall 210 is approximately the same size as the inner wall 114 of the upper tray 100, and the well 116 of the upper tray 100 is configured to be disposed within the well 212 of the base tray 200. Further, like the well 116 of the upper tray 100, the well 212 of the base tray 200 consists of a vertical surface 213 and a well floor 215, where the vertical surface 213 defines the contours of the well 212 within the inner wall 210. The vertical surface 213 includes at least two sets of attachment points 214A and 214B where the base tray 200 attaches to, secures to, connects to, or otherwise supports the upper tray 100 at corresponding attachment points 118. Although the attachment points 214A, 214B of the base tray 200 are purely exemplary, they can be described as cutouts, cavities, recesses, notches, carve-outs, or depressions in the vertical surface 213 of the well 212. Similar to the attachment points 118 on the upper tray 100, the attachments points 214A, 214B are shown as indentations in the vertical surface 213. Each attachment point 214A, 214B has a seat 218A, 218B and sides 222A, 222B, respectively. The seats 214A, 214B are generally flat and in a plane parallel to the plane formed by the well floor 215. The seats 218A, 218B contact the underside of the seats 122 of the attachment points 118 on the upper tray 100, as shown in FIG. 4B and described in more detail below.
  • [0042]
    The seats 218A of the first set of attachment points 214A in the vertical surface 213 have a depth, as measured from the flat upper surface 220 down, that is different from the depth of the seats 218B of the second set of attachments points 214B. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A, 3C, there are three attachment points 214A and three attachment points 214B, alternating around the vertical surface 213 between attachment points 214A, having a deeper depth, and attachment points 214B, having a shallower. While FIGS. 3A and 3C depict three attachment points at two different depths, it should be understood that the present invention is in no way limited to this embodiment nor is the relative difference in the two depths limited to that shown in the figures. In other embodiments, the base tray 200 may have more or less than three attachment points at two or more different depths.
  • [0043]
    FIGS. 4A and 4B show a top and cut-out view, respectively, of one embodiment of the serving tray 300 that includes the upper tray 100 and the base tray 200 described above. The serving tray 300 is shown to be in an elevated state ready for serving food, even though no food is shown. The attachment points 118 of the upper tray 100 have been slidably engaged with three attachment points 214B of the base tray 200 having the shallow depth. More particularly, the undersides of the seats 122 of the attachment points 118 on the upper tray 100 are resting on the seats 218B of the attachment points 214B on the base tray 200. In this elevated state, a volume 302 is created between the upper tray 100 and base tray 200 in which ice (not shown) may be placed. Because the base tray 200 supports the upper tray 100 at the attachment points 118, 214B, it is possible to arrange the upper tray 100 with the food so it is not resting directly upon any ice in the volume 302. Upper tray 100 may also float directly on the ice, in which case the sides 222B of attachments points 214B may engage the sides 123 of attachment points 118. Lateral movement of upper tray 100 with respect to the base tray 200 can thus be curtailed while the upper tray 100 is supported by the ice in the base tray 200. As the ice melts and the height of the upper tray 100 lowers with respect to the base tray 200, the seats 122 of attachment points 118 will come to rest on seats 218B of attachment points 214B, thus preventing the upper tray 100, and any food on it, from coming into contact with any liquid that accumulates in the base tray 200.
  • [0044]
    The serving tray 300 may also be arranged in a packaging state, where the upper tray 100 is placed further within the base tray 200 by engaging the attachment points 118 of the upper tray 100 with the attachment points 214A having a greater depth. In such a packaged state, the volume 302 is essentially eliminated, making the serving tray 300 ideal for shipping purposes. In the packaged state, the undersides of the seats 122 of the attachment points 118 of the upper tray 100 are in contact with the seats 218A of the attachment points 214A. In some embodiments, the attachment points 118 work in conjunction with the rim 110 to support the upper tray 100, while in other embodiments the attachment points 118 work alone to support the upper tray 100. In the packaged state, the well 116 of the upper tray 100 fits substantially within the well 212 of the base tray 200. Furthermore, the underside of the support surface 102 at the channel 106 rests upon the tabs 208 of the base tray 200.
  • [0045]
    As just described, in the packaged state the seats 218A of attachment points 214A support the seats 122 of attachment points 118 of the upper tray 100 while the tabs 208 also support the upper tray 100. In other embodiments, however, the seats 122 of attachment points 118 of the upper tray 100 are not required to be in contact with the seats 218A of the attachments points 214A of the base tray 200 when the serving tray 300 is in the packaged state. For example, the upper tray 100 may be supported entirely by the tabs 208. The structure of the inner wall 204 of the base tray 200 may also provide support at the inner wall 114 of the upper tray 100.
  • [0046]
    As previously noted, the attachment points 214A, 214B of the base tray 200 may be configured to have different varying depths within the well 212. Two such depths, corresponding to an elevated state and a packaging state, have been described in detail above. The attachment points 214A, 214B may also be configured to support other arrangements for the serving tray 300. For example, another embodiment would support an intermediate state, where the attachment points are arranged to support the upper tray 100 at a height above the base tray 200 between the lower packaging state and the elevated state. Such an intermediate state may be ideal during the time of consumption when only a portion of the ice has melted. In effect, the food would be in closer proximity to the ice without resting the upper tray 100 directly on the ice in the base tray 200.
  • [0047]
    It should be noted that the invention is not limited to the above mentioned embodiments and exemplary working examples. For example, while the serving tray 300 has been described in some embodiments as a shrimp cocktail serving tray, the present invention is in no way limited to these embodiments. Attributes of the serving tray 300 that are beneficial to a shrimp serving tray, such as a see-through lid, tiered well, and configurable upper and base trays, for example, may be equally if not more beneficial to other food groups. Further developments, modifications and combinations are also within the scope of the patent claims and are placed in the possession of the person skilled in the art from the above disclosure. Accordingly, the techniques and structures described and illustrated herein should be understood to be illustrative and exemplary, and not limiting upon the scope of the present invention. The scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims, including known equivalents and unforeseeable equivalents at the time of filing of this application.

Claims (15)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A serving tray for packaging and serving food, the serving tray comprising:
    a base tray, the base tray comprising:
    an outer wall disposed along the periphery of the base tray;
    an inner wall disposed concentric to the outer wall, the inner wall defining a first well;
    a bottom surface extending between the outer wall and the inner wall; and
    a plurality of first attachment points disposed along the first well, wherein at least one of the first attachment points is located at a first depth relative to a top of the inner wall of the base tray and at least one of the first attachment points is located at a second depth relative to the top of the inner wall of the base tray, the first depth being different from the second depth; and
    an upper tray, the upper tray comprising:
    an outer wall disposed along the periphery of the upper tray;
    an inner wall disposed concentric to the outer wall, the inner wall defining a second well;
    a support surface extending between the outer wall and the inner wall, the support surface configured to support food items; and
    a plurality of second attachment points disposed along the second well, the plurality of second attachments points located at the same depth relative to a top of the inner wall of the upper tray;
    wherein the serving tray is configured such that the upper tray is at a first height relative to the base tray when the second attachment points are in contact with the first attachment points at a first depth and the upper tray is at a second height relative to the base tray when the second attachment points are in contact with the first attachment points at a second depth.
  2. 2. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the base tray and the upper tray are generally circular in shape.
  3. 3. The serving tray of claim 2, wherein the inner wall of the base tray and the inner wall of the upper tray are both generally circular in shape.
  4. 4. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the support surface of the upper tray is sloped from the inner wall of the upper tray downward to the outer wall of the upper tray.
  5. 5. The serving tray of claim 4, wherein the support surface includes a channel located at the junction of the support surface and the outer wall of the upper tray.
  6. 6. The serving tray of claim 5, wherein the channel includes a plurality of drain holes.
  7. 7. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the base tray is configured to receive the upper tray.
  8. 8. The serving tray of claim 7, further comprising:
    a first rim located on the top of the outer wall of the upper tray; and
    a second rim located on the top of the outer wall of the base tray, the second rim configured to receive the first rim when the upper tray is received into the base tray.
  9. 9. The serving tray of claim 8, further comprising a lid configured to cover the upper tray and to receive the first rim and the second rim.
  10. 10. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the first well is configured to receive the second well.
  11. 11. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the support surface of the upper tray contains a plurality of ridges.
  12. 12. The serving tray of claim 11, wherein the plurality of ridges are oriented radially outwards from the inner wall of the upper tray.
  13. 13. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the support surface of the upper tray further includes an elevated portion adjacent to the inner wall of the upper tray.
  14. 14. The serving tray of claim 1, wherein the support surface of the upper tray is closer to the bottom surface of the base tray when the upper tray is at the first height than when the upper tray is at the second height.
  15. 15. The serving tray of claim 1 wherein the serving tray is configured to store shrimp.
US13797206 2012-06-05 2013-03-12 Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods Abandoned US20130320025A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201261655886 true 2012-06-05 2012-06-05
US13797206 US20130320025A1 (en) 2012-06-05 2013-03-12 Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13797206 US20130320025A1 (en) 2012-06-05 2013-03-12 Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods
PCT/US2013/044388 WO2013184853A1 (en) 2012-06-05 2013-06-05 Packaging container and serving tray for shrimp and other foods

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
US20130320025A1 true true US20130320025A1 (en) 2013-12-05

Family

ID=49668988

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
US13797206 Abandoned US20130320025A1 (en) 2012-06-05 2013-03-12 Packaging Container and Serving Tray for Shrimp and Other Foods

Country Status (2)

Country Link
US (1) US20130320025A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2013184853A1 (en)

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
USD815891S1 (en) 2014-03-14 2018-04-24 Thomas James Waller, Jr. Cooking platter

Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6168813A (en) *
US1949285A (en) * 1933-05-19 1934-02-27 Buckeye Aluminum Company Service tray
US5593062A (en) * 1995-10-10 1997-01-14 Martin; Melvin E. Social serving plate
US6168813B1 (en) * 1993-09-14 2001-01-02 Contessa Food Products Serving tray with shrimp
USD461099S1 (en) * 2001-12-20 2002-08-06 Admiralty Island Fisheries, Inc. Shrimp ring having tray with transparent cover
US6514548B2 (en) * 2001-01-02 2003-02-04 Ocean Duke Corporation Shrimp and tray combination and method of making same

Family Cites Families (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6510653B1 (en) * 2001-12-14 2003-01-28 Enviroworks, Inc. Flower pot assembly with universal tray
US7934449B2 (en) * 2005-09-19 2011-05-03 Edison Nation, Llc Serving tray and food container

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6168813A (en) *
US1949285A (en) * 1933-05-19 1934-02-27 Buckeye Aluminum Company Service tray
USD352204S (en) * 1993-03-16 1994-11-08 Packaging Corporation Of America Catering tray
US6168813B1 (en) * 1993-09-14 2001-01-02 Contessa Food Products Serving tray with shrimp
US5593062A (en) * 1995-10-10 1997-01-14 Martin; Melvin E. Social serving plate
US6514548B2 (en) * 2001-01-02 2003-02-04 Ocean Duke Corporation Shrimp and tray combination and method of making same
USD461099S1 (en) * 2001-12-20 2002-08-06 Admiralty Island Fisheries, Inc. Shrimp ring having tray with transparent cover

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
USD815891S1 (en) 2014-03-14 2018-04-24 Thomas James Waller, Jr. Cooking platter

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
WO2013184853A1 (en) 2013-12-12 application

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
US3484035A (en) Multipurpose container
US3656681A (en) Disposable tray
US3107027A (en) Compartmented container
US5722558A (en) Drink lid with condiment reservoir
US20070107447A1 (en) Sealed water-filled container with ice cube features
US2740575A (en) Dispensing container
US6257401B1 (en) Vented container with handles and embossment
US20040035867A1 (en) Container including detachable cup and built-in warming tray
US5695798A (en) Compartmentalized food package
US20030226882A1 (en) Corrugated paperboard dishware and cookware
US2875683A (en) Combination container and broiler pan
US4718555A (en) Carrying tray
US20090035433A1 (en) Cooking apparatus and food product
US6450341B1 (en) Shipping and baking package for food items
US6755305B2 (en) Condiment cup
US6146673A (en) Baked goods container
US4840361A (en) Household board
US4807776A (en) Multi-compartmented container arrangement
US20070116807A1 (en) Food Tray
US20040149755A1 (en) Combined saucer and cover for beverage cup
US6745905B2 (en) Ventilated tray for refrigerator beverage packages
US20020114870A1 (en) Portable, stacked container and method for separately storing and dispensing two consumable products, especially cereal and milk
US5048688A (en) Scratch prevention pan liner
US20090200195A1 (en) Serving platter having disposal opening and shallow sealing lid
US6244065B1 (en) Container and method for refrigerating a product

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
AS Assignment

Owner name: MAZZETTA COMPANY, LLC, ILLINOIS

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MAZZETTA, MARTIN;SWIBEL, STEVEN;REEL/FRAME:029976/0692

Effective date: 20130114