With lockdown, 2020 is seeing a paradigm shift: ‘out’ is eating on the go; ‘in’ is packing something up that’s home cooked and taking it with you. To be honest, with too much plastic littering our lives, we’ve always been in favour of picnicware rather than plastic packaging. Now, more than ever, we are finally looking to bin the sandwich. This is the year of the lunchbox and they are becoming more and more delightful and ingenious by the minute.
A Brief History of the Lunchbox
The idea of a lunch box traces its origins to the early 19th Century. The Smithsonian’s American History Museum even has an extensive collection. Back in the early 1800’s, workers would need to protect their food from the environment of their job – for example a dusty coal mine, or iron smelting premises. Then by about the 1880’s, school children decided to copy their father’s by having similar lunch caddies made out of an empty tin. Due to demand, it wasn’t long before the lunch box became commercialised, with the first ‘shop’ lunchboxes available in 1902, reminiscent of metal picnic baskets decorated with children playing. Then, once Mickey Mouse, became emblazioned on a lunch box design in 1935, the lunch box statement really took off!
Lunchboxes for the 21st Century
From sustainable bamboo to retro tins, and even now electric boxes that can keep your pasta warm, there is a penchant for the ‘bring from home’ over the supermarket ‘meal deal’. With workplaces looking to ensure social distancing, the obvious choice is to recommend eating at your own desk rather than in the staff canteen. Not only that, more and more of us have discovered the benefits of going outdoors and choosing to picnic en route. It’s no suprise that there is a growing en masse favouritism for bringing your lunch from home. So, what’s available to contain your cheese and pickle sandwiches and keep them fresh? Let’s take a look at some of the best lunchboxes around.
Sustainable Bamboo Lunchboxes
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It is very hardy and therefore requires no fertiliser and very little water to grow. Not only that, bamboo self-regenerates from its own roots, so doesn’t even have to become replanted. This makes it incredibly sustainable, natural, robust and great at keeping food fresh. We absolutely love the fun designs from Toucan Gifts. For example, this Zebra Bamboo Lunch Box or the Panda Lunch Box. Both dishwasher safe and of course, food safe, you’d be suprised to hear that they are also freezer safe between -20 and -110 degrees. They are made from organic bamboo fibre, which is BPA free. Unfortunately not suitable for the microwave or oven, but you’re not likely to cook your salad or ham sandwiches – so that’s ok.
Retro Metal Tin Lunchboxes
Remember that iconic black and white photograph taken in 1932 with the construction workers sat atop a steel beam 800 ft high, at the building site of the RCA building at the Rockerfella Centre, New York? I believe the image is known as ‘lunch atop a skyscraper’? Anyway, reminiscent to that era is the wonderful Stainless Steel Lunchbox by Sass and Belle. It has that real retro vibe with its two side clasps and is perfect for everyday snack time. Absolutely ideal for workers on the go; and great for a cool snack box.
Hot Off the Press – The Heated Lunchbox
Gone are the days of dried up sarnies for lunch, with an electric heated lunchbox on the market. Ever more popular, the heated lunch box enables you to eat pretty much anything from home. Left-over curry, no problem. Hot pasta, easy, peasy. Bring your delicious home cooked food into the office, connect it to a power source and it will gain heat in just a few minutes. No need to queue for the microwave, or even have just cold choices when you’re out and about. Some heated lunchboxes also enable you to plug into the car cigarette lighter socket. Funky, in green and white, this electric lunchbox will heat up your lunchtimes!
Set of 3 Nesting Lunch Boxes
Love a nibble? Perhaps you’re a fan of some crudites and dips, mini sausages, and pieces of fruit for lunch. If you don’t want just a single lunchbox and prefer to pack some ‘picky bits’ for luncheon, why not take a look at a set of 3 nesting lunch boxes. In this case, one size really does fit all. With a large, medium and small lunchbox, you can pack a series of snacks and then after they’ve been washed, nest them in one another for easy storage. For example, take a look at these cool Set of 3 Headstock Guitar Lunchboxes.
So, from lunch boxes adorned with popular licensed TV characters and cartoon heros, to new shapes, foldable, sustainable, tight lidded, or open zip up bag, there is a lunch box to suit anyone for any occassion. Now all you need is a water bottle or flask.