Annie’s Product Redesign: A Case for Ethics and Safety

Annie’s Product Redesign: A Case for Ethics and Safety

April 24, 2021

Annie’s Homegrown organic Mac and Cheese products came under scrutiny because very small traces of phthalates were found in the dairy products and packaging it uses.  Other U.S. cheese products have faced similar findings.

Some research suggests that phthalates can be linked to problems with male fertility and the health of babies, including neurodevelopment and behavioral problems.  While the levels found are below the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA’s) thresholds for human consumption, Annie’s is nevertheless committed to continuing to review the research in this area and help find ways to deal with this issue.


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This post is based on the Food Packaging Forum article, Annie’s to eliminate phthalates from products, packaging, by Vanessa Srebny, February 23, 2021; the Fox News article, Annie’s removing a chemical in mac and cheese linked to fertility issues, by Kayla Rivas, February 26, 2021; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: FoodCollection

Discussion Questions:

1. What is value analysis and how does it pertain to this issue?

Guidance: Value analysis is the process of Continue reading

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Gender Neutral Mr. Potato Head

Gender Neutral Mr. Potato Head

April 8, 2021

Hasbro’s iconic “Mr. Potato Head” is being rebranded as simply “Potato Head.”

According to a company spokesperson, this allows children as young as its target audience of two- and three-year-olds to create whatever gender potatoes and families they wish.  A “family-pack” will include two large potatoes and one small one with over forty pieces for children to use to create the families of their choice.

While some welcome the change in the name of inclusiveness, others are raising an eyebrow to this level of “political correctness” in a toy targeted towards small children.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Fast Company article, The iconic Mr. Potato Head gets a 21st century rebrand, by Dr. Elizabeth Segran,  February 25, 2021, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: D. Hurst/Alamy

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the product life cycle and where are Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, soon to be known simply as “Potato Head,” in that cycle?

Guidance: The product life cycle depicts the various stages in the life of a product, beginning with the introductory phase, Continue reading

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LocusBots Track Real-Time Warehouse Operations

LocusBots Track Real-Time Warehouse Operations

In response to a surge in e-commerce, Locus Robotics is developing better and more efficient robots to handle increased warehousing demand.

Locus Robotics’ robots are called “LocusBots”.  They are autonomous and mobile and can track real-time warehouse operations using iPhone or wearable technology.

New features for LocusBots to better handle item picking and handling in warehouses are in the research and development stage.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Forbes article, Meet The Newest Robotics Unicorn: Locus Robotics Raises $150 Million At A $1 Billion Valuation On Surging E-Commerce Sales, by Amy Feldman,  February 17, 2021, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Baloncici/iStock/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What impacts do robots have on warehouse operations?

Guidance: Robots are automating warehouse operations in general, and item picking and handling in particular. A robot can pick up more bulky/heavy items, and move them to desirable locations, faster than its human counterpart.  Warehouse operations will be more efficient and reliable and have less errors and injuries.

2.  In what ways is product design important to Continue reading

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