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It's lunchtime and everyone in the office heads for the table, armed with transparent plastic cutlery. I open my packed lunch - pasta with pesto - only to find that the pesto isn’t where it should be: it’s decided to migrate all over the inside of my yellow Sandqvist backpack. Will this torment never end?
Eating at work has become almost an art form, in which you have to navigate between the meal-planning fanatics and those who only believe in deliveries. The colleagues who wish they were at home empty their lunch onto a plastic plate and drink from a glass, but the general rule is forking it straight out of the Tupperware, with a pack of tissues in the middle of the table to serve as napkins.
But believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be quite so disorganised and messy. The solution may be a lunchbox that links to your smartphone.
Two years ago, Chris Place and Will Matters began to think about a lunchbox that would be aesthetically attractive, efficient in terms of space and perfect for meal planning. And, to leave nothing to chance, grease-proof.
Launched on Kickstarter in January 2016, Prepd raised over a million dollars during its campaign and is now officially on the market. Meanwhile, Chris and Will have added new accessories to the starter pack, which includes three combinable, fridge-friendly containers and a pair of chopsticks. More containers can now be purchased (still holding the correct-sized portions), as well as set of magnetic cutlery and a neoprene sleeve to keep food fresh longer. I’m guessing that no-one else in the office will ever be this organised.
Prepd is not just a lunchbox, it’s also an app that acts as a community where you can exchange content and advice, from original recipes formulated by professional chefs and nutritionists to shopping lists that calculate the exact quantity of each ingredient and monitoring tools to keep an eye on calories and consumption.
I know I’m moving away from the days when I used to scroll through recipes on Yummly - my favourite app for inspiration - while I paced back and forth in the vegetables section, looking for something that didn’t look as though it came from Tasty, the BuzzFeed food offshoot that drives every Italian mad.
From the supermarket to the office table, Prepd will keep you as healthy and knowledgeable as possible, because you can enter valuable information about food intolerances or special requirements for the training you’ve just started at the gym.
Prepd has a clear aim: to encourage people to bring lunch from home, which definitely saves money, but also reduces food and packaging waste. What’s more, the lunchbox is made from high quality, sustainable recycled materials which will last over time.
Aesthetics should not be underestimated: one of the Prepd team’s aims was to create an object that’s attractive to look at and pleasant to use. It inherits the look and feel of a bento box, but re-imagined in a slick version, with a bamboo cover and magnetic closing.
Chris and Will are not the only ones wanting you to make a good impression on your colleagues when the lunch bell rings: At FuoriSalone, O bag is about to launch a lunchbox that plays with shapes and colours.
O eat is designed by laboratorio.quattro, which has previously worked with the brand to give the concept of portability a new look - essential for O bag’s creations. The lunchbox consists of two hermetic units connected by a case and a strap, which can be combined and are available in six colours.
Now you can delete the Deliveroo app from your smartphone - or move it to a tab lower down - to keep temptation for days that can only be saved by pizza.