Design Explained – Our Innovative Lids

Lids. Yes, we’re starting off 2019 talking about our lids.

Happy 2019, and we hope that you find this new series about how our smartly engineered product components work as interesting as we do! And lest you think we are a bunch of engineers sitting around geeking out about our products (which, we happily are!), we were inspired to write this series because of the many questions that you, our fans and enthusiasts, ask us.

One of the most frequently asked questions comes from those of you who use our bottles, lunch jars and food jars – the items that typically have screw-off lids. Upon first glance, many of our customers aren’t sure why our lids have multiple pieces, after all…isn’t one lid just like any other?

Of course not! We have designed our screw-off lids to cleverly solve a few problems, without requiring you to learn a new technology or to deal with lots of difficult processes. Let’s deconstruct the lid first.

It looks like a lot of pieces, but each one fits seamlessly and serves a purpose.

It looks like a lot of pieces, but each one fits seamlessly and serves a purpose. The Lid Cover and Lid Cover Gasket top the show. The Stopper Cover protects the inner stopper system, which is comprised of the Stopper, Valve Packing and Stopper Gasket, all of which help to prevent leaks. The Valve Packing helps manage pressure inside the main body that can be created when hot foods or drinks are stored in the container. The Lid Cover at the very top is removable to allow access to the Valve Packing when needed, and the extra space within the lid also creates an insulated barrier so that the temperature of the food or drink inside the main body is maintained.

Pressure release valve helps to release built-up pressure

The components of the inner stopper system are meant to seal the main body shut, and the Valve Packing manages the pressure inside of the container. Sometimes, when the containers are filled with hot foods or beverages, pressure can build up inside and seal the lid tightly onto the main body. This is great when you’re making Steel Cut Oatmeal To-Go in Your Food Jar, but not so great when you have to open that food jar! Rather than forcing the lid off, and potentially scalding yourself, we’ve designed the lid so that you simply take off the Lid Cover, insert a toothpick into one of the two small holes in the  Stopper, and release some of the pressure inside of the main body. This works the similar to the way pressure is released from a pressure cooker. Then, just screw the lid off and enjoy!

Removable mouth ring for drinking comfort

The Mouth Ring and Mouth Ring Gasket below the lid components are for drinking comfort, and the lid fits securely into this area. Additionally, the lid covers the area that touches your lips, keeping it clean. We’ve even heard that it’s great when your bottle rolls out of your bag onto the sandy beach, and the lid stays on to keep the drinking area clean of sand!

Most lids disassemble for thorough cleaning

Lids, because they come into contact with foods and beverages, can foster bacterial growth if they aren’t cleaned well and dried thoroughly. We’ve thought of that, too, and designed the lid to easily disassemble. Each component can be removed for thorough and hygienic cleaning.

Check out how convenient these smartly designed lids are – and of course, enjoy your fresh foods and beverages in our vacuum-insulated bottles, food jars and lunch jars. Our friendly Customer Service Representatives are available to answer any questions…especially the really geeky ones our product designers love!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Lina!

Customer service is one of our key values, and we’re excited to spend some time getting to know Lina this month!

Lina has been a Customer Service Manager with Zojirushi for almost two years and she brings freshness and passion to her role.

Lina, can you tell us a little bit about your role as a Customer Service Manager?

My primary job is to make sure that I help customers with their Zojirushi product, whether they need support finding the right product to fit their needs or whether they have questions after they’ve bought their product, like how to use certain features or what recipes would be great, or even finding replacement parts. I have to be a product expert to do my job well, so I also learn about each product, give input to R&D and help with warranty and repair requests.

Sounds like you have a lot going on! How did you get into this role?

I grew up with Zojirushi products. Since before I even knew the name, I can remember seeing the elephant on all our household products. I’m proud to work for a company I believe in and can recommend to everyone.

Zojirushi products are stocked in the customer service area that allow representatives to walk through processes with customers over the phone

We’ve heard that from everyone we’ve interviewed this year… that Zojirushi is a great company to work for and that our corporate values are embodied throughout the organization. How do you see our values and our corporate philosophy of Creating a Quality of Life translate into your role?

I believe our values of quality and attention to detail make this company. We get customers calling in about rice cookers and bread machines they have had for 20 years which are still working in great condition! I have seen all the thought and effort that goes in to the design of new products to allow for the best aesthetics and functionality. We try our best to assist customers to ensure they are satisfied with their products whether it be by troubleshooting any issues they may have or providing them with step by step instructions on how to operate their products. We have actual units we use that allow us to ‘walk through’ with the customers so we see the exact same thing they see and can better assist them. We really pay attention and I think that makes all the difference.

Along with our values, our corporate tagline is Inspirations from Everyday Life. How do you see everyday inspirations reflected in Zojirushi products?

There is an increasing awareness and interest in gluten free breads and various grains for cooking in the rice cooker. Our newest bread machines reflect this and are designed to bake gluten free breads. Our newest rice cooker has a quinoa setting. We also just released a water boiler with an all-stainless steel interior. We are always developing our products to suit the needs and requests of our customers.

Daikon Pork Layered Hot Pot

You’re so passionate about our products! Do you have a favorite product or favorite recipe you’d like to share with us?

Vacuum mugs!!! I cannot live without mine. I fill it with coffee, tea or water and it helps keep me hydrated and caffeinated in the most stylish way. The mugs are so minimalistic, light, and durable. I never realized how much I would love and need it until I actually used it. Best gift to get for anyone.

And I love the Daikon Pork Layered Hot Pot. It is a beautiful dish to look at and tastes even better!! Give it a try! The Japanese have a saying that ‘you eat with your eyes first’ and this is definitely a sight to behold!

That does sound delicious! We love hearing about everyone’s recommendations. Since Zojirushi is a Japanese company, do you have any insight into the culture you’d like to share?

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Zojirushi Headquarters and Factory in Japan. It was truly a wonderful learning experience. What always impresses me about the Japanese is their dedication to their craft. They focus on one thing and really perfect it. And trust me when I tell you EVERYTHING tastes better in Japan! It’s always a fun and delicious experience when I visit there.

We can’t wait to visit Japan, either, and hope that you enjoyed learning about Lina and her perspective. Stay tuned for our next Voices of Zojirushi!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Marilyn!

We hope you’re enjoying our Voices of Zojirushi series. We’ve enjoyed sharing perspectives from Jesse, Seitaro, Saori, Nao, Amy and Manny with you.

This month, we visit with Marilyn, our North American Marketing Manager. She works closely with the Vice President of Marketing on everything from product research and development to campaigns and promotions to advertising and public relations.

Marilyn’s unique background–born in Los Angeles, moved to Tokyo when she was eight years old, and returned to Southern California as an adult–gives us such interesting insight into her career at Zojirushi.

Marilyn, start off by telling us what inspired you to work at Zojirushi?

As with most Japanese Americans, I grew up using Zojirushi products and was familiar with their reputation, so it was a no-brainer for me. What keeps me at Zojirushi though, is knowing that the products I help develop bring joy and convenience to others. I love it when new people I meet can’t wait to tell me how much they love their Zojirushi products!

Marilyn’s Tuff Mug has been through the ringer, but still works like a  champ

That’s got to be the best feeling. Since you help to develop and market Zojirushi products, how do you believe our corporate philosophy of Creating a Quality of Life influences you?

When developing products or creating marketing materials, I think of our customers a lot. How would this product benefit our customers? How can I make this product better, so it’s easier to use, easier to clean, or more useful? What would our customers like to read in our newsletters or on our website? By thinking of these Hows, Whats and Whys, I hope to make the lives of everybody who interact with us and our products in any way, better.

For example, as a manufacturer of household appliances, safety is one of the most important qualities at Zojirushi. How can we design the cord so the unit isn’t pulled off the counter accidentally? What can we do to prevent burns? How can we make it child-proof? What happens when someone struggles to open a lid or cook something better? These are the questions asked every day at Zojirushi and implemented into our products.

Since you’re so close to the products, tell us about your favorite product and one you’d like to see created in the future?

My favorite Zojirushi product is the Tuff Mug I’ve been using since I started working for Zojirushi in 2002. It’s scratched, beat-up and dented, but still works amazingly well. Newer mugs have better design features like a disassembling lid and are much lighter, but there’s something about this mug that I just can’t get rid of it (including the lipstick stain on the lid because the lid doesn’t disassemble)!

And as someone working in product R&D, I have lots of great ideas under my sleeve, but I wouldn’t mind taking a step backwards and having a glass-lined vacuum bottle in our lineup. I remember a day in elementary school when I dropped my glass-lined vacuum bottle and it shattered, spilling barley tea all over the place, but glass is so much easier to clean and keep sanitary.

Marilyn enjoys cooking takoyaki with friends who join her in turning batter into balls

We do love our Zojirushi bottles! We know barley tea was your drink of choice in elementary school, but what can you tell us about your favorite dish now, especially one that’s made using a Zojirushi appliance?

Takoyaki. Growing up in Tokyo, I would’ve never thought of making takoyaki at home (it’s more of a Western Japan thing), but it’s so fun to make when we have guests over. I also enjoy using the griddle to make French toast and hash browns on Sundays.

Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your thoughts with us today. Any last thoughts?

If there’s one thing about Zojirushi I would say, it’s this: Dedication. The dedication each employee has for this brand always amazes me. Everybody works hard to make the best product they can think of, help customers as much as possible, or try to provide the best Zojirushi experience for every single customer. It keeps us fresh and inspired!

—-

We hope you enjoyed meeting Marilyn, and stay tuned for our next voice, next month!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Manny!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the past few posts about our team members. This month, we get an inside view into Manuel, one of our Repair Technicians. Manual, who goes by Manny, is one of the newer members of the Zojirushi family, having been with the company for two years.

We caught up with Manny and learned more about his experiences with Zojirushi.

Manny, tell us what inspired you to work at Zojirushi?

I had previously worked for a Japanese company and I really enjoyed learning so much from a new culture. Being a Latino, I felt an affinity for Japanese culture, and knew that I wanted to continue in a Japanese environment.

Miso ramen with tender pork chashu

Since you find Japanese culture so interesting, tell us a bit about your experience with Japan. Have you ever been to Japan? What’s your favorite part of the culture and food? 

I’ve never been to Japan but it’s definitely a place I would like to visit in the near future. My favorite Japanese food is miso ramen with a combination of chashu. The most interesting experience I have encountered is leaning the culture, the food, and the language.

How do you find Zojirushi’s Japanese heritage and your position at the company embodies the company’s mission–Creating a Quality of Life–for customers?

As a technician I represent the company, so I take my repairs very seriously, making sure that the quality of my work meets Zojirushi’s high standards. [That attention to detail is a really important part of Zojirushi’s heritage.] We try to create a good quality of life with our products and I believe our vacuum bottles inspire customers to take care of the environment, because not every plastic bottle gets recycled. Global warming is happening and we have to take care of our planet because we only have one.

A cache of rice cooker pans from current and discontinued models, used when performing testing on customers’ rice cookers

Much of our product design focuses on practicality, quality, craftsmanship, sustainability and stylishness. Do you have a favorite product? And what would you like to see as the next great Zojirushi product?

I would have to say the bread machine is one of my favorite products. It has evolved from a practical product to this amazing multifunctional bread machine. Also, consumers are really liking pressurized multicookers because it reduces a lot of the cooking time, so I would have to say a ‘ZojiPOT’ would be awesome to have in our lineup.

Manny, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. We have to know, since you love food and Zojirushi products. Do you have a favorite Zojirushi recipe? How did it turn out?

The lemon pound cake is my favorite recipe. I would like to see if a customer can make a great Mexican rice recipe. I would definitely try that!

—-

Thanks to Manny for sharing with us, and we hope you enjoyed meeting him! Stay tuned for next month’s Voice of Zojirushi.