Food styles and eating habits are continually evolving in our fast changing world. This is true for our midday meal. Despite the exciting changes associated with a range of take away lunch options, for those who wish to bring food from home, the plastic lunchbox container is still the only real option. It is of no surprise that many workers prefer the convenience of buying lunch rather than bringing leftovers or alternative healthy eating options.
The work environment has dramatically changed for many people. The influx of open plan offices and requirement for continual computer use has resulted in changing eating patterns at work. Lunch breaks are short, and food is often eaten alone at a computer or work station, while people continue to “work through” lunch. Consequently, many people are missing out on the extremely important and rewarding social interactions that are had from eating together.
From these insights, two design opportunities are apparent: a lack of convenience means that workers are buying their food rather than bringing food from home. In addition, the increasingly busy lifestyles of workers means that lunch has become less social.
The ‘Office Lunchbox & Table’ system is an elegant design proposal that celebrates these opportunities for design to enhance eating and interaction in the workplace. The system consists of a portable lunchbox that features multiple containers, eating utensils, a metal base for induction heating and intelligent heat sensors. The second part of the system is an office lunch table that incorporates an induction cook top, to allow workers to simply place their lunchbox containers on a smart cooking surface which intelligently controls the reheating process with ease. A ‘smart’ touch interface activates when it recognises the lunchbox containers.
This solution provides an unparalleled convenience. It encourages a shift towards office workers preparing healthy and low-cost meals including leftovers or home-made lunches to the workplace.