The local plasticware giant has redesigned its containers, and (almost) everybody is mad about it. Presenting the cases for and against.
The case for the new Sistema
Sistema is a way of life. It may look like a slightly cheap plastic tub that could easily be swapped out for Tupperware, Click-Clack or one of any number of alternatives, but something about the locally-made storage solution has made a loyal customer out of me – and many other New Zealanders. Maybe it’s the range of colours? The sizes? The fact they always seem to be on special at Briscoes?
In 2021, the brand’s iconic design was updated. No, it was upgraded. Gone are the janky and very leakable rubber seals, and in their place are lids that attach like an air seal on the International Space Station. Nothing is escaping through these lids. They’re sleeker, they’re frosted, they feel harder, better, faster, stronger.
A masterful upgrade, in my eyes. But it’s become very clear that while I’m staunchly in the “redesign” camp, a lot of others disagree and are yearning for the old days. / Stewart Sowman-Lund
The case against the new Sistema
The new lids are incredibly hard to get off, especially on the smaller containers. I had to use a knife the other night to pry one off, my leg braced against the cupboard door to sustain the effort. I ducked upon opening lest I’d unleashed a 1000-year old curse. I need Sistema in my life and I need to love it. I spend half my life at war with hard-to-open food packaging. I’m trying to reduce how much of that comes into our house. Sistema is part of that programme of work but with fingers and thumbs that are already wrecked from years of hard scrolling and typing graft and with a future of carpal tunnel and arthritis ahead of me, we’re gonna need a lid revision, stat. / Anna Rawhiti-Connell
The new Sistema lids are absolutely cooked. If I’m successful in getting one to attach to the bloody container (which is a rare occurrence), the chances of ever being able to open the damn thing are slim. Reader, I do not have time for this. Also, the little clicky-clacky fastener things come off and get lost in the bottomless pit of despair that is my container drawer, leaving me with clicky-clacky-less containers that I use anyway, but then the lids come off and spill my leftovers everywhere. Simply unacceptable. / Alice Neville
Sistema used to be great. For a person who likes to avoid dishes, it was the perfect lunchbox solution. Cheap and plentiful, I could write the kids’ names on them in Sharpie, chuck them in their backpacks, and not have to worry if I forgot to give them a rinse after school – there were always more in the drawer. But it all changed the day the new lids attacked. Not only were they not backwards compatible, leaving me with a weird ratio of unmatching lids-to-containers, they’re almost impossible for my kids to open on their own – a requirement at my 4-year-old’s kindy. Encouraging independence in young kids is always a good thing, and the side benefit of not taking up all of the ECE teacher’s attention opening 30 lids is obviously great too. For now I’ll be hoarding my newly-vintage sistema and hoping for the day that a more ergonomic, child-friendly version becomes available. / Sacha Laird
I was never a fan of the blue seal giving up the ghost and just flopping out of place in the original Sistema design, but I’d take that over the horror show that is the new design any day. The Sistema of yore is a staple of our snack container contingent, but the new ones are gathering dust in my plastics drawer; it turns out I didn’t give birth to superheroes but regular humans whose strength is not sufficient to prise these suckers open. Kids aren’t the only victims here, turns out the new Sistema is adult-proof as well. As an extra kick in the guts, the new design has clips on the lids which rendering them incompatible with tidy dishwasher stacking, so even if you do find a use for the cursed containers you can forget about having a nice time doing the dishes. / Jane Yee
I’ve been using one of the new Sistema containers as my compost bin because I suppose I am a bit of an eco hero and also because I forgot to empty the last one after about a month of stewing and the stench had sunk into the plastic and we had to throw the whole thing out. Although the new container is extremely good at keeping the stink of banana skins out of our apartment, it needs approximately a crow bar to get the lid off every time. For some reason, the new Sistema contains the otherworldly suction power of Suzanne Paul lifting a two tonne truck off the ground, and I frequently smack myself in the chin like an idiot trying to wrench it open. Good for slapstick comedy, bad for my self-esteem. / Alex Casey