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Posted on May 5, 2008 in Equipment, Review, Shopping | 82 comments

Review: Cheap lunch containers at Target

Review: Cheap lunch containers at Target

Lunch containers at Target

Seasonal lunch containers from Target

Reader “K” gave me a heads up that Target now stocks cheap lunch containers in their seasonal section in the front of the store, so I popped by and picked up a couple to try out over the weekend.

Part of the Whim by Cynthia Rowley collection made by the Israeli Bramli Company, these plastic US$2.99 containers are definitely the right price, and come in colorful pink and blue. I picked up two versions that I thought bento-packers might be interested in: the Divided Lunch Set (in blue) and the Personal Salad Set (in pink). They do have pros and cons, though… (Read on for the full product review.)

The Divided Lunch Set has a plastic knife and fork built into the lid, and has three divided sections: one large 480ml section and two smaller 280ml and 240ml sections. (I measured these with the water method described in my guide to choosing the right size bento box.) With a total capacity of 1000ml, this is the right size for someone with a large appetite or a normal adult packing less calorically dense foods such as salads or a sandwich. I filled it with water, fastened the lid on, and quickly discovered its major drawback — water poured out freely from under the lid. So if you wind up getting this container, beware of the loose lid and avoid packing liquidy foods (or pack liquidy foods in a separate lidded condiment cup like the ones I used for fruit jello cups). The lid stuck a bit when I tried to remove it; this may be a bit tricky for a child, but an adult should be able to manage it just fine.

Divided lunch set from Target

It’s marked as being safe for the dishwasher and microwave (vent before microwaving), but I wasn’t able to find any information on what kind of plastic it’s made of. Given the recent hubbub about bisphenol A (BPA), this makes me a bit anxious… If you intend to microwave your lunch in its container and are concerned about plastics, consider tempered glass bento boxes that I reviewed earlier. Ichiban Kan now stocks GlassLock boxes at reasonable prices, with a multiple-item set available in their retail stores.

If you’re looking for a no-frills watertight container, check out the excellent Lock & Lock food container line instead (U.S. online store here). Their lids have four locking flaps that are absolutely watertight and stand up to whatever abuse you throw at them (dishwasher, microwave, etc.). I’ve used Lock & Lock boxes for years with no problems, and their lids are even easy enough for a three-year-old to open without help.

1250ml Personal salad set from Target

The 1250ml Personal Salad Set from Target has the same lid issue: it’s not watertight at all. Experienced lunch packers know not to pre-dress a salad hours before eating, as this causes the greens to wilt during transit. A small dressing container snaps down into the lid to keep dressing separate, and is secure enough to keep the dressing from leaking even when shaken. The dressing container is very easy to remove, but falls right out if the container is turned upside down. The fork is very easily removed — points for that. But the large lid to the main container itself is tricky to remove; be careful or you might get a lapful of salad. Because there’s no built-in ice pack, you might want to pack this inside of a larger insulated lunch bag with an ice pack to keep your greens crisp and fresh, especially in hot weather.

Fit & Fresh salad container (assembled) Fit & Fresh salad container lunch (exploded)

This reminded me of a bulky Fit & Fresh Salad Shaker that I bought a couple of years back, with a cool lid with built-in ice pack, little plastic fork and spoon, and dressing dispenser. Although the lid was secure and pretty easy to remove, I found this container to be better in concept than in practice. The dressing dispenser sticks and is difficult to turn, and after only two uses the bottom cap of the dressing dispenser no longer stays on. All in all, not a good use of the US$10 I spent on it at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Don’t even get me started on the faulty ice ring in the Fit & Fresh Soup & Salad Set that broke after one use.) (Disclaimer: I have no commercial affiliations with any of the companies mentioned here.)

Have you found a salad container or cheap lunch container you like that’s widely available? Tell us about it in comments!

FURTHER READING ON LUNCH IN A BOX:

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  1. I’ve seen those containers here in Sweden! In Västerås. I always have to dig around in my bag for the fork or spoon. Having it fit into the lid is perfect. I should pick up some of these the next time I’m visiting the other side of the Atlantic.

  2. Thanks for the review, Biggie! For those of us that can’t get authentic bento gear, it’s important to get an idea of if an improvised container is good for what -we- want for it!

  3. I actually have the 3 sectioned containers with fork and knife from what they carried last year. Absolutely love them and they are the perfect picnic size

  4. Oh my god that’s awesome!!!! Thanks!!

  5. Thanks for your thorough review! Most of my lunchboxes are bento boxes from Japan or Lock n Lock’s, and I have way too many as it is, so I didn’t buy any of these ones at Target. But I still wanted to know how they’d hold up, so thanks for checking them out!

    In the same section (not sure if you noticed these) they had insulated tote bags in various designs, I picked up an “8-can” capacity one that fits about 2 of my bento boxes perfectly in it- in case any of your other readers were in the market for cute insulated bags.

  6. Ha! :) I’m glad you did a review on this. I was about to go hunting down for a new lunch box today. :( Somebody broke my other one at school… along with taking my lunch. D:

    I love Lock&Lock brand stuff! I have the exact same lunch set as Bug (the one that has a bag, 2 boxes; one of them with 3 sections), and a water/juice box). I can’t find the dark blue, insulated one anywhere around here though. :( They only have the light blue bag where I live.

    For “liquidy” foods, I use the Gladware cups (much like this one: http://www.solutions.memoriesbymindy.com/images/foodkitchen/jellocups.jpg) and pack it separately from my other stuff. It holds quite well. (Soups, curries… they’ve all made it to lunch without a single leak.) I’ve written too much. xD I’m done now.

  7. Hello,
    I am looking to get a new bento box for my little one that is practical and not made out of plastic. Are there any other bento box material beside plastic and stainless steal out there?
    Thank you

  8. The utensils look flimsy in the pictures, like regular disposable stuff. Is this accurate or are they sturdy?

  9. I’ve had a version of these for a few years now – my kids (ages 10 & 7) can open these with no problems. The lid on ours is waterproof, but the inside dividers are not. If I’m packing something that might leak, like really juicy fruit, I cover that section with Press-n-Hold wrap.

    They are pretty big, though, so I don’t pack them like a bento. They come in handy for larger pieces, like chicken drumsticks, that might not fit in my smaller containers. They’re also great for lunches for my husband, or picnic dinners.

  10. I have these from last year or so. I find them impractical. Difficult to use for my kids lunches b/c they don’t fit into a lunchbox. My son brought one in his school bag & a kid stepped on it & it cracked (a 4 year old!). Plus we lost the built in forks pretty early b/c the kids forgot to repack them at school.

    yes they are cheap – both in cost and materials. ymmv.

    otoh – I just today picked up my dark blue lock n lock insulated lunch set, which I am very excited about.

  11. Thank you so much Biggie, I went to Target (Tar-jey) after work today and picked up the salad set…(I started my salad and japanese ginger dressing diet today) and it is perfect for my purposes. There was another there that reminds me of a lunch box my mother brought back from Hong Kong…it was a lunchbox with a water bottle all in one. Very neat!!!

  12. Awesome for the news update. I always go to Target on the weekends but haven’t seen these lunch box container’s yet. Maybe I need to search harder :P

  13. I have to agree about Lock and lock. They’re the best boxes I’ve ever used. And pretty cheap to boot! :D

    I also love the fit and fresh salad container. I got mine for $2 at goodwill and it worked really well. Only problem is that after a few times using it, I think my dad lost it at work.

  14. saw this while i was at work today and stopped by on my way home. sadly at my local store many of the utensils and salad dressing containers were missing. but i still found some intact ones and for the price they are ok
    thanks!

  15. hmm, will have to check that out, but it is quite large as you say. i guess it’d be okay with salad though!

  16. Thanks for the thorough, in depth review =)

  17. As far as forks go I cannot go past my trusty japanese bento fork and fork case. It slips into any of my bento packs or even in my handbag so easily.

    I scored a big set of 10 different size lock and lock containers for free a couple of weeks ago, but they have been moved around in renovations and I’ve been loathe to unpack them and get them messy as yet. I am looking forward to settling back into bentos though.

  18. @1 from Wendy: Good tip on Västerås — I didn’t realize they were available in Sweden as well.

  19. @2 from Argentee: No sweat, Argentee — I was intrigued and the price was right.

  20. @3 from MercChan: Thanks for the feedback on the divided container. Is your lid watertight or no?

  21. :D I sent you another E-Mail, Biggie! :) I found myself a new lunch box and wrote a mini review for you. ^^

  22. I use a simple Rubbermaid square container for salads. For the dressing, I use 1 oz. disposable condiment cups with covers. They are water-tight and you can buy 100 for about $6 US. I get them at IParty, but I imagine any restaurant supply would also have them. Love your blog.

  23. I bought the Fit and Fresh Lunch on the Go set at Target about 2 months ago, I think I paid about $9 (here’s a link for it on Bed, Bath and Beyond http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14039163). It has a big container for the main dish, an ice pack and two side dish containers with their own lids.
    I’ve been using it for lunch at work every day since I bought it and I love it. Planning and packing a special lunch for myself every day makes me excited to eat healthy, homemade food. I like how it all fits together in one container and keeps food cold. There’s no built-in silverware, so I put it into a big lunch bag that also holds my breakfast and any snacks.
    A couple of drawbacks I’ve noticed are that the ice pack basically sits on top of the main dish below it. There are tabs built into the main dish container that the pack rests on so it doesn’t smash the food, but it still touches unless your food is very flat. :-) I don’t like washing the ice pack every day, so I usually put a layer of plastic wrap between the food and ice pack. The other drawback is that the side dish containers seem kind of cheap – they’re a softer plastic than the rest so they absorb colors/odors from food more readily, and I’ve noticed they’ve lost their shape slightly from heat – both from washing in extremely hot water and microwaving. It makes it a little harder to snap the lids on, but they still work fine.

    I would definiately recommend this set to anyone who wants something more convenient than a bunch of separate plastic containers. It’s especially good for people like me, who live in areas where bento gear is scarce. It makes a good substitute, holds a good amount of food and keeps it cold. I’m sure I’ll buy another when mine finally wears out.

  24. I still love my Lock & Locks. Unfortunately I can’t find them at Target anymore! I did find my thermal lunch jar at Target a while back, and it works really well. It is Aladdin brand, watertight, and keeps food cold or hot for about 4-5 hours. They had two sizes, 12 oz and the 24 oz. (which I have). The 24 oz also came with a removable divider inset. Very handy!

  25. Lock & Locks are the best I’ve tried so far when it comes to preventing ANY leaking.

    I got 2 Fit & Fresh items as gifts and agree with Biggie. Great in concept, but not so much in execution. None of the lids stay on tight, both leak unless kept PERFECTLY upright and not moved around at all. Ok for stuff without any liquid I guess.

    Not that I need any MORE bento containers, but someone at work had a Tupperware catalog and their newest line includes a lot of different items that can be used for bento. Insulated soup mugs with lids that have a vent for microwaving, divided dishes with removable cold cups, etc…I purchased a couple to try, so we’ll see. They look nice though.

  26. Thank you for the review–you saved me $2.99. Actually, since the colors and packaging of the containers is so bright and pretty, I probably would have bought both the pink and blue, so you saved me $6.00–which is really important, especially these days. Thanks for the excellent blog!

  27. The lid on my sets are about as watertight as they can get without being a lock & lock. I’ve never had a problem with them leaking. They were under a different name last year, but I don’t know how much of a difference that makes (they’re probably same manufacturer, different name)

  28. @4 from Deanna: My pleasure, Deanna!

  29. @5 from K: I hadn’t actually noticed the insulated bags at Target, thanks again for the heads up! Like you, I have enough, but it’s good info nonetheless.

  30. @6 from Moo: I really like the Lock & Lock stuff as well — I wish there were a reliable, cheap online source for the insulated lunch sets (with the dark blue bag) that I could point to. Reader Summer pointed out lunchsense.com, which looks good (albeit a little pricey). Thanks for the link to those little GladWare cups, they look cute.

  31. @7 from Kaji: I second the Lock & Lock love! They’re not necessarily cute, but they’re such functional workhorses that you can supplement with accessories to make our kids’ lunches a little more fun.

  32. @8 from Roo: Well, there’s the tempered glass, but they’re definitely heavier for little kids to transport. I have seen aluminum boxes, as well as wood and bamboo, but the latter two require special care. Maybe in the meantime line the plastic container with waxed paper, parchment paper, lettuce or bamboo leaves?

  33. @9 from Monica: I’d say that’s accurate — the utensils seem flimsy to me, and I’m a little afraid of breaking them.

  34. @10 from madiego: Hmm, interesting that your lids are watertight — I wonder why that aspect changed this year?

  35. Hi Biggie-

    I just discovered your site and I love it! I’d like to do a post about it on my blog- would it be ok to include 2 or 3 images?
    Please let me know-
    Either way, I’ll be checking back often!
    thanks!

  36. @37 from Abby: Yes, go ahead and include some of my images as long as you leave the watermark in and include a link back. Thanks for asking permission, I appreciate it!

  37. I don’t have any out of this particular range (well, obviously depending on geography). However, I do have what looks pretty much the same but in variant colours and at a higher price. Now I have a tote bag for carrying lunch in. However they leak or not I have no idea.
    They also make a range of, and I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the brand, of rather funnily made fit-into eachother bowls. They have one for baking, another for salads etc. Also a stock of cutting boards etc.
    Oh one of those lunch boxes comes with a drinking bottle.

  38. Biggie,

    I can get some of the dark blue lock&lock ones & ship them to you if you are interested. I think there were at least 3 to 5 of them in my local store.

    Mika

  39. One of the best, cheap bento box options is no longer made. (I’m down to just one and it must be 6 years old by now.) It’s a 3 section box with a lid made by Ziplock. It is perfect for a sandwich, leftovers, or salad, plus two side dishes. It came in packs of 3 (or 5?) and were marketed to be disposable or re-used, as befit your needs. It fits in many different brands of insulated cases. It doesn’t leak at all, even from one section to another. It’s not pretty (semi-clear box with a clear blue lid) but before I discovered Laptop Lunches, it suited me just fine. I wish Ziplock still made them!

  40. I also have these Target containers from last year. I lost one fork almost immediately as it the “catches” on the sides were too “loose” to properly hold in the fork and on the other set the knife and fork snapped after about 3 months of use. The same as any regular heavy duty plastic fork in my experience. I never found anything that could replace them in those spots though, everything was the wrong shape. Mine were never water tight. Eventually I tossed them as they were difficult to store. Would be nice for a quick picnic or something but not an everyday lunch type of situation.

    And I bought the Fit N Fresh ones before buying Lock N Lock, Snapware and regular bento boxes. Big mistake. Not air tight, bulky and the containers do lose their shape just in hot water. I had difficulty putting on the lids after a couple of hot washes.

  41. Hi! I just happen to stumble upon your blog on a Google image search. Well I just wanted to say you have inspired me :), everything looks so AMAZING! Your son is very lucky. By the way I noticed that you mostly mention solid foods, do you also pack something to drink? Just wondering how you do it.
    Since I’ll be starting college soon this will be something I will be trying. And I am definitely getting hooked on your blog, I’ll be back!

  42. I saw those last weekend. I’m glad I didn’t buy one!

  43. Thanks for the review, Biggie! I know I would have been tempted by these, but I think I’ll stick with my favorite Lock&Locks. I just wish the Lock&Lock bento set was available here.

    For people looking for Lock&Lock with the inner cups, I ordered a bunch from lockandlockusa.com (aka Heritage Mint). I think that’s the widest selection of ones with inner cups that I’ve seen online for shipment in the US.

    In the US, Target doesn’t seem to carry the brand any more, but Wal-Mart still does. Some grocery stores do also.

  44. @8 from Roo- I sometimes use a reused aluminum almond roca box as a bento box. It is around 400-500 mL. The one I have is heart shaped, though this might have been a Valentine’s special thing. (The normal boxes are circular I think) To my knowledge they are not expensive, though you may want to add some type of printed out design to cover up logo and such. (Also, since they’re pink, they are not the best idea for a boy xD)

  45. My usual lunch containers are Tupperware. I’ve tried the Fit N Fresh and am not a big fan of them. I had one of the round Fruit and Vegetable containers and was really unhappy when I opened it up one day to enjoy freshly cut watermelon, red grapes and strawberries as my afternoon snack at work and found the contents coloured light blue after the cold pack had split and leaked everywhere.

    The retailer I bought it from no longer stocks it so I couldn’t get a replacement – being in Australia isn’t much help in getting a replacement cold pack.

    I’m fortunate that I have a small fridge in my workspace – I don’t have issues with kepping my leftovers cold at work.

  46. @15 from catastrophegirl: That sucks that the sets were taken apart and not intact in the store — so aggravating!

  47. @18 from metanoia: Wow, what a great score to get so many Lock & Lock containers for free! How did you luck into that deal?

  48. @22 from Moo: Thanks for the mini review, Moo! Interesting.

  49. @25 from Heather: I’d seen those Aladdin food jars at Target before and wondered about their quality and how they’d hold up. Thanks for the feedback!

  50. @29 from Summer: Thank you so much for the lunchsense.com link with those Lock & Lock sets. They do look a bit pricey, but at least they have nicely put-together sets!

  51. @40 from Mika in Seattle: Thanks for the offer, Mika, but I don’t think I have the time to be a good intermediary. Feel free to post your e-mail address here in comments if you like, though, and interested parties can contact you directly. (NOTE to other sellers: Lunch in a Box is not an appropriate place for you to advertise your stores in comments without my permission; this is an exceptional case.)

  52. @41 from KCatGU: I have those little dressing bottles — they’re very handy.

  53. @44 from Jazz: For Bug’s drinks, I often use the drink container that came with my Lock & Lock bento set to pack 25% juice with 75% water. Lately Bug has been begging for juice boxes so that he can be like one of his friends, so sometimes I give in. If I don’t pack anything at all, his preschool serves all of the kids water.

  54. @47 from Sunflower: Thanks for the lockandlockusa.com link, Sunflower! I’m glad Walmart still carries the Lock & Lock boxes — I wonder why Target discontinued them?

  55. @48 from Elli: Nice improv on the aluminum Almond Roca box! Very inventive.

  56. @50 from Ben: Okay, it looks like Fit & Fresh has some quality control issues with their ice packs — that’s really unacceptable to have one split apart all over your food. I’ll be passing on any of their new products unless I hear rave reviews from trustworthy sources.

  57. Just wanted to give an update on my Fit and Fresh – I microwaved some leftover lasagna yesterday and the heat (and possibly oils from the cheese?) seemed to damage the container. It looks like there’s something stuck on it, but when I scraped at it with a scrubber, it seems more like the plastic was actually damaged. It happened earlier on one of the smaller side dish containers, but I figured it was because they seem to be a less durable plastic and I stopped microwaving the. But this happened in the big main dish container that I thought was thicker and sturdier. It makes me wonder if any plastic ended up in my lunch! Yuck! I think I’m going to look around online and just fork over the money for something of higher quality. I still like my Fit and Fresh for cold lunches that won’t stain, but I don’t want to have to plan every meal around the quality of my lunch containers!

  58. Regarding the Bisphenol-A scare, it’s only found in polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is the hard, sometimes highly colored plastic. Think Nalgene bottles, baby bottles, anything that has a hard plastic that resembles glass. Hard, meaning will not deform, even when filled with boiling water (that WILL leach the bisphenol-A). I have never seen a bento box made from polycarbonate. They are usually made from polypropylene or HDPE.

    HTH :)

  59. I have to agree with the concept of the Fit and Fresh being great- execution not so much. The size isn’t conducive to being packed in my bag, and having to ‘drip’ the dressing in from the top and shake means all the heavy salad stuff ends up at the bottom of the container under the lettuce, and there’s oily dressing to scrub off every part of the container, lid, and ice pack each time I use it. Which is very infrequent now because of this. I’ll have to find the Lock and Lock! Thanks for testing out the Target ones, I was tempted last week and am happy to have saved the $$$.

  60. @52 Biggie: I scored the Lock and Lock from my Dad. He had to buy a fridge for the company he works for and they threw them in with the fridge, so he gave them to me. ^_^

  61. @63 from Pavlina: Thanks for the good information on BPA and polycarbonate, Pavlina! Very reassuring, and reinforces that I shouldn’t post about something before thoroughly researching it first.

  62. @67 from PBVox: Okay, now you and Tory have me curious! Do you have a link to these Ziplock containers?

  63. Biggie, to confirm what Pavlina said @ comment 63, I went to the top and wrote to Cynthia Romley and to Eli Bramil:

    “I am interested in the Whim by Cynthia Rowley Divided Lunch Box you designed and made for Target. Your packaging says that the lunch box is safe for the dishwasher and microwave, but does not indicate whether it is free of bisphenol A (BPA). Do the lunch boxes contain BPA?”

    Romley hasn’t responded, but Bramli did:

    “Thank you for the e-mail. All Bramli products are free of bisphenol A (BPA). Please feel free to enjoy our products.
    “Best regards,
    “Samuel Bar
    “BRAMLI
    “Sales and Marketing Manager”

  64. Biggie,
    Thanks for reviewing these items from target. I love to buy all kinds of bento gear, but from your comments I would have been disappointed if I had bought these. Thanks for taking the time and spending the money! Thanks!!

  65. Hi, Biggie!
    2 things:
    1. I am SO GLAD you posted this, as I saw them in Target the very next day and, undoubtedly, I would have purchsed them with reckless abandon.

    2. This may seem a silly question, but how do you know how to run this website? Not the hosting and such, but how to post and the format and all that jazz? I’m looking to start a site of my own, but I’m not sure how difficult it is.

  66. Thanks for a great review – I probably would have just bought one of these (I’m a sucker for stuff like this) and would have been frustrated. Salad in my lap is not for me!

    @princess_design – do you blog? If you start by setting up a blog (go to blogger.com, wordpress.com or something like that) you’ll get some experience to get you started. http://www.w3schools.com/ is a great place to go to learn how how to format, post HTML, etc. Good luck!

  67. @69 from Great Stone Face: Thanks for passing along Bromli’s response about BPA — I appreciate it!

  68. @71 from princess_design: Gosh, I figured out how to post on WordPress by trial and error, mostly. I do use the WYSIWIG editor in WordPress so I don’t do much manual coding for any of my posts, which makes life easier. When I see a post elsewhere that’s formatted in a way that I like, I view the source code in my web browser to see if I can figure out how they did it. No real secrets here!

  69. @ Biggie: Thanks! I’ll keep you posted if I ever get moving on this! (I’ll want to link to you.)
    @ Mary: Thanks for the tips. I have a personal blog, but I want to do something like this one…a little more global.

    You guys are the best!

  70. I have some of these from last year. We use them for picnics or packing lunch when we travel. I don’t like them for everyday use, but for a quick picnic lunch, it beats using disposable products. Ours have held up well. For storage, i stack all the containers and then all the lids on top, works fine for us. I love the new pink, i may have to get some of those. Look out for the clearance, those go down to 75% off, that is when i got ours.

  71. I bought a box by the same manufacturer at K-Mart. It is a box (in blue or pink) that has a waterbottle that nestles in the lid. I love it. I never tested whether it’s leakproof, but I pack it flat in an insulated bag and have never had a problem. In fact, my secretary liked it so much, she bought one too. For $3.99 it’s a great little “bento” box

  72. @76 from sahminaz: Nice tip on how to store multiple containers in a space-efficient manner!

  73. I bought two of those containers. I got the blue one with the knife and fork for my husband and the pink one with the water bottle for me. I use them only rarely, but the blue one does come in handy when I’m packing something watery into my husband’s bento. The partitions keep everything in place better than the removable divider in his Relaxy Space bento box. He hates that people can see through it, though.

  74. @79 from Jenny: I haven’t tried sending these to work with my husband yet, but I could see him not being happy with the bright blue or the see-through aspect either. Good point!

  75. I bought the Cynthia Rowley Salad container. I’m glad that it was only $2.99 because I’ve only used it once. Pros for me: I like the amount of salad it holds. I like the idea of the dressing container being seperate and fitting in the lid.
    Cons for me: The first one I bought had a hole in it (under the cardboard wrapper so I didn’t see it in the store). As you pointed out the dressing container doesn’t stay in the slot very well. (My lunch bag does not always make it to the office without being tipped.) It was difficult to open and I don’t want a lap full of salad.
    Wish I’d seen your review first…but thank goodness it was only $3. I’ll keep it on hand but I doubt I’ll use it often especially after my Mr. Bento arrives next week. (Thanks for the reviews of him too!!! Can’t wait to try it!!!)

  76. Sorry, my mistake – You didn’t exactly review Mr. Bento, but you talked about it which led me to research it and buy one. Thanks for that! Your site has been very informative. I wasn’t planning to do lunch bento-style, but it is a lot of fun learning about it!! I think I may be hooked.

  77. @81/82 from Kate: Well, I think salad containers and the Mr. Bento are good for different types of food; I just haven’t found the ULTIMATE salad container yet. The Mr. Bento and similar thermal lunch jars are pretty cool for packing soup, rice, main & side dishes all separately (and warm!), though.

    And about doing lunch bento-style, just take the tips and ideas that work for you, and leave the rest. It doesn’t have to be complicated!

  78. I agree with Tory (May 2008)…the Ziplock brand divided “disposable” boxes are the BEST!! I’m babying my last 2 left after 4 years – they do not leak and fit perfectly in rectangular lunchboxes… Have yet to find anything else to meet my needs, though will check out the Cynthia Rowley/Target version.

  79. These are such a lovely launch box. Kids will love them.

    • Wow, an American-style bento box at Walmart? Clearly labeled “bento”? Bento is definitely mainstream now, cool!

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