This might be the most well-designed lunchbox ever — here’s what it’s like

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My lunch in the Prepd Pack.
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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

For years, Chris Place rarely packed lunches at home. It was too cumbersome to think about what to make, and lunch was never fun to prepare. So he and his friend Will Matters decided to create the Prepd Pack, a fancy-looking bento box that comes with a handy app to help people prepare satisfying and healthy lunches.

Featuring 140 recipes by Prepd Pack’s chefs, the app suggests lunch recipes and syncs their nutritional values with the health app included in your phone.

Place and Matters launched the Prepd Pack on Kickstarter and Indiegogo in early 2016.

Nearly a year later, it has garnered approximately 40,000 preorders and crowd-funded over $4.2 million, says Place, who worked on the lunchbox while at Y Combinator.

Prepd Packs were originally supposed to ship to donors in June, but it has been delayed several months due to manufacturing issues, according to Place.

It’s ready to be shipped, and we got one of the first boxes to test. Here’s what happened.


This is the Prepd Pack, a bamboo and BPA-free plastic bento box that snaps together using magnets. It comes with one large container, two small containers, and chopsticks. You can purchase more containers or a fork, knife, and spoon at an extra cost.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

Once I got my box, I downloaded the free Prepd Pack app on my phone. It asked me which health goals I’d like to prioritize. I chose five.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

The next screen suggested 58 recipes, like the one below, based on those preferences. I could select one to see its calorie count and expected prep time.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

I chose a “fast” box called “Gone Boating,” which included zucchini topped with hummus, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and apples with peanut butter as sides. Once selected, the recipe was added to another section of the app, called “My Prep.”

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

When I tapped on the recipe, the app listed the ingredients, nutritional info, and how to make it.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

When I added the recipe to the “Shopping List,” it told me how much of each ingredient to buy.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

On Sunday evening, I went to a market to get the ingredients. I liked that I knew exactly what I needed to buy.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

The meal took about 20 minutes to make. When I was done, I slid the box into a sleeve (available separately) and then into the fridge.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

When I opened my Prepd Pack the next day, I loved how the boxes looked. Several of my coworkers asked me what it was, since it looks cooler than a typical lunchbox.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

The zucchini boats were tasty.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

Monday night, I gathered ingredients for the next few days of lunches (I cheated and bought kale chips instead of planning to make them). Then I went home to prepare the food.

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My shopping cart, full of veggies.
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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

30 minutes later, my kitchen was in chaos. All of the washing, chopping, and preparing of the produce and tofu took me about 40 minutes — about twice the time the app said it would.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

To be fair, I prepared enough veggies and noodles for two miso-soup meals. But the 40-minute estimate didn’t seem to take into account how long it would take to make the accompanying kale chips.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

The next day, I added hot water to my box of soup fixings, as the recipe instructed. While my photo of the soup was Instagram-worthy, the dish itself tasted bland. It needed more seasoning.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

For Thursday’s lunch, I made a recipe called “Green Eggs,” which was basically an omelette with feta cheese, tomatoes, spinach, and basil. Instead of the suggested home-roasted beet chips, I packed Trader Joe’s kale chips again to save time. This meal took 30 minutes and was delicious.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

But on the last day, I gave up and packed my bento box with Chinese leftovers.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

Overall, the Prepd Pack did not persuade me to bring my lunch more often.

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Leanna Garfield/Business Insider

When I buy lunch, it’s because I didn’t have time to make one in advance. And when I get home, I need to think about dinner – not a 45-minute recipe for tomorrow’s lunch. (The app does list “fast” lunches, but there aren’t many, and the app didn’t make them easy to find.)

While it was fun to discover creative recipes, the Prepd Pack made my lunch preparation more complicated.


That said, however, it’s the most well-designed lunchbox (and bento box) I have ever used.

The containers were completely leak-proof, and the magnets that make it close were satisfying to snap together. The recipes I made were also aesthetically pleasing.


If you want to spend $79 on a beautiful lunchbox, the Prepd Pack could be for you. But I will stick with my paper bag.

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Prepd Pack

Backers pre-ordered the Prepd Pack – which includes the lunchbox, three containers, and chopsticks – for $59, though it will now retail for $79. If you want extra parts, they will cost you: $25 for another container set, $19 for a carrying sleeve, and $12.50 for cutlery.