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Innovative packaging tackles consumers' complaints

The Windex Touch-Up Cleaner is shown in this undated file photo.

September 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
We've all been there - fighting to get a package open or trying to get the last drop out of a bottle. Manufacturers are beginning to listen to consumers and coming up with innovative packaging to make their products more user-friendly.

Packaging can drive you crazy - bags that don't reseal, dispensers that don't reach everything and bottles that drip. Consumer Reports says manufacturers are offering solutions.

In the kitchen, forget rummaging for a cleaner. Windex Touch-Up Cleaner is designed to sit on the counter. A single tap gets you just the amount you need with nothing wasted. Consumer Reports' packaging expert Tod Marks says he's seen it all.

"How tired are you of doing this? You see there's a straw on the bottom, and there's plenty of cleaner, but nothing's coming out," Marks said.

Clorox Clean-Up engineers came up with this simple solution. The straw goes down the side of the bottle to the very bottom, so you can reach every drop.

"Boy, do we love it when things make sense," Marks said.

When it comes to messy medicines with missing caps, Neosporin has a better idea. Neosporin Neo To Go is a neat little dispenser that delivers a single dose. Also, it can't make a mess in your purse.

Other packaging pluses - Olivari Olive Oil has a no-drip spout that keeps the oil from dripping down the side. Also, the Better Oats Oatmeal pouch saves you a step. Pour out the oats and fill to the water line. No measuring cup needed. And good news for Fido - his food won't go stale with packaging from Hills. It has a Velcro closure that keeps the bag shut tight.

"Some of these products can cost more than the older version, but for added convenience, reduced waste and reduced annoyance, can you really put a price on that?" Marks said.

Consumer Reports gets complaints just about every day about bad packaging. If you find one that's driving you crazy, email SellingIt@CRO.Consumer.org.

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