EMSA sells over one million lunch boxes per year in a variety of countries and regions. However, as indicated by their introduction lecture, there is still a large audience which they are unable to reach. Most of their domestic products are aimed either at children or adults, yet they are missing the region in between. This region is occupied by young professionals, aged from early twenties to mid thirties. This group is career oriented and working hard, often on the go and conscious in their consumption.
The products they seek are well suited to their mobile lifestyle and their designs should fit the professional environments they work in. EMSA has very few products suited for these people and thus misses out on large profits. If EMSA can reach young professionals and make them loyal to the EMSA brand, they will stay loyal when they transition into a more domestic lifestyle and thus also increase customer base for other products.
In order to find out what it was that young professionals are looking for, a survey was sent out among students of the University of Twente regarding their current lunching habits and problems. Over 80 students responded, ranging from ages 19 to 26, offering a wide variety of insights and potential problems to solve. A selection of most relevant data is offered below, the full survey and results can be found in appendices A.1 and A.2 respectively.
The majority of respondents (61%) said they take lunch with them from home. Of those respondents, more than a third (36%) reported having issues with the bulkiness of their current lunch boxes or listed it as a reason for using plastic bags instead. Two other largely reported problems were the risk of spilling (18%) and keeping the food at temperature (14%). The most common foods people would like to bring, but can’t due to lack of proper containers, are mostly soups, salads, and fresh fruits.
The major problems to focus on were thus concluded to be the bulkiness of lunchboxes and reducing the risk of spilling. If possible, a form of thermo-insulation would be beneficial to keep the food at the right temperature, and an option that enables people to take soups, salads, or fresh fruits with them should also be looked at. But first, the source of the major problems had to be found.
A short investigation into the bulkiness of current lunch boxes quickly led to results. Many young professionals, some of our own team members included, carry laptop or messenger bags instead of backpacks. These bags are designed to carry laptops and documents, and are thus typically very thin. Lunchboxes, however, tend to be quite thick. This means that many lunchboxes are thicker than the bags designed to carry them. Due to the design of the bags, these lunchboxes also must be placed in sideways, increasing the risk of spilling due to food piling up at the lid-box seam.
The main goal of the to be designed product therefore became to design a portable lunching solution that is suited to be carried in laptop bags, eliminates all risk of spilling and allows the user to stay flexible in their lunching options, whilst maintaining a design that fits inside professional environments.
We did some market research on what already exists. An option that came up a lot, is the japanese modetro lunch box (source 1). The problem with this lunchbox is that it is too small. With this box you are not able to bring much food with you. Besides, the lunchbox seems very unhandy for you bag. It is not a handy format and will never fit well in you backpack or laptop bag. Another problem with this box is, is that it limit the user in the lunch he could bring. It is especially designed for dinners or warm lunches with at maximum three different ingredients, like potatoes, meat or vegetables.
The other comparable option we found looks much like an ordinary lunch box (source 2). The problem with this box is that it is not leak proof. Besides, the capacity of this box is also very limited. The box is just designed to bring some sandwiches, but no yoghurt or warm food.
Another lunch box we found on the internet (source 3), seems like a handy lunch box with even enough space for all you food. However this lunch box will never fit inside a laptop bag of a young professional. They also designed a thermo bag for the lunchbox (source 4). But that thermo bag is even more unpractical and will never fit well in a laptop bag. Nice try, but won’t work.
Last, we found this lunch box (source 5). At a first sight it seems pretty nice. It is small, and can be folded, so you can more food or less food with you. This almost is the ideal box. However, they claim that the box is leak proof, but from our survey we learned that 18% of the people don’t trust that kind of claims. So, there are many people who won’t buy this box because of the fear of leaking. We see that point, because the lid seems not that steady and can go off in the bag.
For the final product we made a financial analysis about how profitable our product is. Bellow a short summary, do you want to read the full analysis click here.
The canvas bag is a profitable product. In our worst scenario we had a total cost of €25,70 and we ask €30. There is also one scenario where we make a loss of €7,77, with a sales price of €20.
If we assume normal circumstances, a sales price of €30 and our calculations are correct, than we make a profit of €7,66 per product. If all the costs are 50% higher than expected, we make a small loss per product of €0,90. If all the costs are 50% lower than expected we make a profit of €16,23 per product.
Also, for the reduced ask price we have lower transportation and inventory costs. See the calculations of this costs in the other paragraphs above.
Modetro Ultra Slim Leak Proof Bento Lunchbox with 3 Portion Control Compartments, Includes Matching Insulated Lunch Bag - Ideal for Adults - Bento Box
Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Salat-Box
Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Mittelgroße Kühltasche Blau
Mepal Bento lunchbox large