Many urban dwellers have little inclination to bring lunch from home. Prepd may change that — and yes, it’s sad that it may took an expensive container to unshackle you from the plethora of halal food carts and dirty water dogs around your city (try not to dwell on that). But opening this premium, bamboo-wrapped lunchbox and seeing each piece of the hinge slowly unravel to reveal a perfectly proportioned bento box meal is oddly satisfying.
Still, we’re talking about a lunchbox that costs almost $70 — is it liverwurst or filet mignon?
Prepd is a chic lunchbox that was Kickstarted in January of 2016. It had a modest goal of $25,000 and surpassed it by over 5,000 percent. At the end of the campaign, the team raised $1,439,098 from over 12,000 people. Prepd is now on sale and shipping to backers. But starting at $69, is it worth the premium just so you can be the cool kid with the Lunchables?
It’s hard to think of a product simpler than a lunchbox. It’s a thing that holds other things and is about as pedestrian as the wheel or a hoop stick. Yet Prepd has figured out a way to remix the lunchbox into something that makes packing food trendy.
The standard Prepd kit will set buyers back $69. With it comes the bamboo box, a large and two small containers, and a set of chopsticks. An extra container set, which also includes the medium-sized container, costs an additional $19. A magnetic cutlery set costs $9, while cooler chopsticks and a sleeve are $10 apiece. A full Prepd set with everything mentioned above comes out to $117. And for meal preppers that like to store multiple days’ worth of food in advance, additional container sets will quickly add up.
Prepd’s shtick is minimalist lunchbox feng shui.
Prepd certainly feels premium when held: It’s not too weighty, and a rounded design makes it easy to grasp and carry. The plasticware is made of Tritan, a high-quality, BPA-free plastic of glass-like clarity. It’s completely microwave- and dishwasher-safe, plus the seal is sturdy and never leaked in our use. The cutlery and chopsticks felt standard on the other hand (in the other hand?), although making the cutlery magnetic was a nice touch.
The cool sticks fit perfectly on the sides of the Prepd, and detachable saucepots can affix to the tops of lids. Prepd really was designed with every consideration in mind, and uses its limited space with maximum efficiency.
We ran into very few annoyances while using Prepd, but a few niggling things cropped up. Because Prepd is such a tight and compact package, for example, there isn’t much room to fit in extra items of food. Everything must be planned for the containers, although the sleeve does allow some wiggle room. For example, we stuffed in a bagged slice of pita bread for some hummus-dipping action.
While we do recommend buying the sleeve, as the strap makes it easier carry, it’s not perfect. The inner neoprene material is very slippery. On the way to the train station one morning, the Prepd slipped out of the sleeve, littering the sidewalk with food containers. This unfortunately left the precious Prepd with some dings – a tragedy for this expensive container. Luckily the containers held together steadfast. From then on, we had to be very conscious of how we held the Prepd, and always angled it with the opening towards the body so that pesky gravity wouldn’t be an inconvenience again.
We stuffed in a slice of pita for some hummus-dipping action.
Another downside with the Prepd is that there isn’t any way to store beverages. A normal lunchbox is usually big enough to throw in a can of soda or a Capri Sun (don’t judge). For most people this is a non-issue: vending machines are plentiful, and it’s easy to throw something to drink in your backpack. But it still means that in some ways Prepd isn’t a perfect lunch storage solution.
Prepd’s shtick might be minimalist lunchbox feng shui, but its goal is to get people to stop ordering so much takeout. If the price tag wasn’t encouragement enough to guilt you, Prepd has also developed an app that can make meal prepping a bit easier. The app shows proportioned dishes with instructions, ingredient lists, and calorie counts. We did enjoy scrolling through meals, and found it a good source of inspiration.
Prepd is a solid product that presents a solution to a problem that never really existed. For all intents and purposes, a set of meal prep containers from Amazon can also get the job done. But that shouldn’t dismay buyers from giving Prepd some consideration. Sure, it might not be the most economical food storage solution, but sometimes having style over substance isn’t a bad thing. At the very least, everyone at work will ooh-and-aah in envy over your futuristic lunchbox. And for some, that’s plenty worth it.