Why Haven't We Learned From Japan's Genius Sauce Packets?

Grabbing enough sauce packets from your favorite casual restaurant is always a necessity, and squeezing them onto your meal before digging in will guarantee you can enjoy your meal to its fullest. Getting sauce all over our fingers in the process is kind of something we've come to expect, especially in America. Once you grab that little sachet of ketchup, mustard, or mayo and rip off the corner with either great precision or wedged between your incisors, it's anyone's guess where that sauce will end up. Covering your fries or the whole surface of your Burger King Whopper patty evenly is another story.

Depending on how proficient you are at your squeezing technique, the sauce may come out in annoying blobs that you need to spread out, or it just creates an equally annoying mess. Japan is way ahead of us in terms of sauce packets, though, and we're more than a little jealous. Containing ketchup on one side and mustard on the other, the packets release streams of both condiments when the sides are squeezed together. There's no tearing or puncturing involved, no possibility of any rogue sauce making it onto your hands, and no blobs in sight, only consistent streams of saucy goodness.

It may seem like a small detail, but the U.S. could really learn a thing or two from Japan's take on sauce packet design. Seriously, what gives? Although, Japan isn't the only country where such genius condiment witchcraft is taking place.

Australia and New Zealand have used no-mess sauce packets for decades

LA-based foodie, Soy Nguyen, demonstrated exactly how Japan's clever sauce packets work on TikTok. The viral clip's caption reads, "One of my fav things about the culture and people is their attention to detail. It's truly such a thoughtful experience." You can see how, when you press the ketchup and mustard together, the perforated holes on the front of the packet allow the sauce to flow consistently onto whatever food awaits it.


don't mind me just squeezing my sauce through Japan. One of my fav things about the culture & people here is their attention to detail, it's truly such a thoughtful experience. #japan #japanesefood #sauce #traveling #travel #japanfood

♬ Mother – Meghan Trainor

It may seem like a pretty original concept in the States, but this innovation isn't news to Australia and New Zealand, which have been using them in restaurants for 30 years. As it turns out, Sanford Redmond, a sauce packet designer known for inventing the high-speed machine that wraps butter squares, created them. Dubbed the "DispenSRpak", the creation earned Redmond an award in 1986. His design was featured in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Back in 2000, Mitsubishi was cranking out an estimated 250 million such packets for Japan annually (via The New York Times).

The visionary's snappable, perfectly mess-free concept eventually made its way Down Under and to parts of Mexico. In Australia, these containers have been around since 1990 and are called "Squeeze Mate", which are on display at yet another museum, Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. The U.S. is unfortunately still waiting on this to become a thing. Until then, we'll have to stick with sticky fingers.