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The Straw That Didn't Break the Camel's Back

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

ZOKU is a consumer goods company focused on reusables for food storage and drinkware. They make things like lunch containers and water bottles which are distinguished by their practical forms and elegant, colorful designs. To my eye, the presentation has a distinctly Japanese vibe and "zoku" is a Japanese word part meaning "family" or "tribe". I can't say if there's anything to my interpretation, but it adds up!

The ZOKU pocket straw is a collapsible drinking straw that comes in a small carrying case—pocket-sized as the product name suggests. A cleaning brush is included, and tucks right into the collapsed straw. What I admire about this very simple item is the consideration of emotion in the product strategy. It engenders a sense of doing a small thing to lessen your environmental impact—a feeling worth paying for! More importantly, ZOKU has addressed the thing most likely to cause anxiety about an object you put in your mouth—keeping it clean! The brush performs very well and is fully integrated into the design. Plus the whole package is cute!

ZOKU’s products are obviously aligned with the current trend away from single-use plastics and their marketing plays that up. The pocket straw was introduced at a time when people were becoming acutely aware of the problem of unrecyclable, ocean-cluttering plastic straws. Some municipalities such as New York City (and many others) have even banned disposable plastic straws making a product like this essential in a population that tends to set national trends.

Taken all together, this is a pretty package in terms of form and function that addresses a real need while also alleviating the one thing users may worry about.

Photo copyright 2022 Kirk Samuelson


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