What is Lunch Box for Food Storage

A lunch box for food storage is a type of container that is used to store food, in most cases to work or school and is meant to be eaten during lunch hours. It’s usually hand-held and designed for easy mobility. Lunch boxes (can also be called lunch bags, tiffin boxes, or lunch containers) are essentials for people who go to school or work.

Brief History of Lunch Boxes

An old lunch box
Source: iStock 

At some point in time, it was a common thing to see people using old paper brown bags as lunch bags. But better and more efficient lunch boxes have been produced giving buyers the opportunity to choose from different colors, designs, and sizes. 

The concept of a lunch box was first birthed sometime around the 1880s. Then, it was common for older men to go about their daily duties with bags which contain the main things they will be needing for the day. The school children tried to copy their fathers and used empty cookie or tobacco tins to produce similar caddies. 

From the late 1800s to around early 1940s, the empty tin of tobaccos were popularly used as lunch boxes. Also, because these metal containers had enough strength to withstand terrible conditions in quarries, mines, factories, and construction sites.

In 1920, Thermos Bottle Company launched the first official lunch box for commercial distribution. The box was made from metal, had a leather handle and a dome-like shape. This lunch box however due to lack of technological improvement was not really good at keeping food at the desired temperature. 

Lunch boxes have come a long way since when they were first invented. Many designs and practices have been phased out and new ones brought in. One of these is the body structures and material which they are made of. The design of lunch boxes have been revolutionized by several modern companies who have introduced game-changing designs and quality into the market.

One other aspect the lunch box production industry has grown incredibly is in customer personalisation. People can even now have custom-made lunch bags made for them with prints of their choice.

Types of Lunch box Classified by Material 

Lunch boxes with food in them
Source: Nicety

In this section, we will take a very well articulated dive into the different types of lunch boxes according to the material they are made of.

1. Stainless Steel Lunch Box 

A 3pcs stainless steel lunch box set
Source: Nicety

Lunch boxes made from metal have always been the most used type of lunch box since they were first introduced in the 1800s. They are centuries old and were specially designed for people who would rather own a rugged box because they trust its strength against falls and hard knocks. 

In the late 1980s to the early 2000s,the popularity of metal lunch boxes began to reduce, they became less and less in demand and as such, its production was reduced. However, in recent years, we have experienced a renewed popularity of metallic lunch boxes again but this time as food-grade stainless steel.

If the stainless steel type of lunch box were to be put in a competition with any other types of material lunch boxes, it would most likely come out on top because stainless steel does not break nor corrode. It is almost impossible to beat such tough material.

Also, it is important to note that stainless steel does not harm the environment, it is very eco-friendly and this is due in part to its recyclable nature. For quite some years now, these and several other reasons have made it to be one of the most used materials by lunch box manufacturers who ship wholesale stainless steel containers worldwide. 

For the consumers, stainless steel has been the most preferred type of lunch box because it is exceptionally durable. It does not rust nor show any sign of corrosion, and it is oxidation resistant. It is not uncommon to have stainless steel items in homes outlive other household items.

Another reason that stainless lunch boxes are preferred is because they are safest for storing food. Stainless steel does not affect your food in any way, it does not change the color, taste, smell, nor does it release toxins.

The ideal and most used type of stainless steel material to make lunch boxes is the 304 stainless steel. It is most ideal because it is food-grade. What this means is that the stainless steel material is completely safe, it does not get into any food component.

304 stainless steel comes in two common variations – 18/8 and 18/10. These numbers refer to their respective chromium and nickel percentages. The 304 stainless steel with the more nickel offers better resistance to corrosion and shine more. As a result of this, lunch box manufacturers who want their product to resist every form of oxidation usually opt for the 18/10 304 variant.

Over the past few decades, the best lunch box producers in the world like the Nicety stainless tiffin box manufacturer have tilted more towards stainless steel as their material of choice because of its shiny beauty, sustainability, and safety. 

Examples of Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes

  • Stainless Steel Round Lunch Box
Nicety stainless round food container with bamboo cover
Source: Nicety

The stainless steel round lunch box is one of the most commonly used lunch boxes. Its round shape and minimal design makes it really unique in its own sense. The round steel lunch box is usually made in portable sizes so they can fit into bags and be moved around with ease.


  • Very portable and easy to carry.
  • Easy to wash and maintain.
  • Highly resistant to oxidation.
  • Very safe for food storage.


  • Must be handled properly from falling because in cases where this happens it will roll down.
  • Square Steel Lunch Box
Nicety stainless Square Steel Lunch Box
Source: Nicety

The square steel lunch box is as its name suggests, a type of stainless steel lunch box that has a square shape, or as some will call it, a rectangular shape. This lunch box is ideal for sliced food like fruits, sandwiches, etc. A big size can store food for as many as 3 people. It will do this while still retaining temperature, taste, and moisture content level.

The square shaped steel lunch box has a flat four cornered bottom that balances well on any surface. It is good for storing food for kids and also for adults.


  • Very balanced.
  • Durable and safe for storing food.
  • It stores more quantity of food than any other type when arranged properly.
  • Very versatile and can be used to do many things.


  • Can not fit into just any bag, only bags designed to hold shapes like this lunch box can do so.
  • Stainless Steel Lunch Box with Bamboo Lid
Nicety Stainless Steel Lunch Box with Bamboo Lid
Source: Nicety

This lunch box is made from the very best quality 304 stainless steel material, giving it that shiny, lasting and durable look that you desire. The cover is made from bamboo which gives it an exciting aesthetic look whilst still maintaining it’s modesty and class.

This item has been proven safe, which is further enhanced by an elastic band that is installed around the bamboo lid. The elastic makes sure that the cover is completely shut tight and does not remove on its own.


  • Classic and minimalist design.
  • This lunch box is very strong.
  • The tight lock makes it conducive for children to use.


  • The plate will outlive the cover, and in some cases the owner would either abandon the whole lunch box or try to purchase another lid. 
  • Stainless Steel Lunch Box With Compartments 
Nicety Stainless Steel Lunch Box With Compartments
Source: Nicety

This special stainless steel lunch box is strong and durable. It’s made from the best 304 stainless steel material; expect a very long lasting box. This lunch box is ideal for people who prefer to serve their food in varieties. The different compartments help to keep all the meals fresh at the same time in the best conditions.


  • A neat body that can be easily washed and maintained.
  • Long lasting material.
  • Ease of movement.
  • Some compartments are moveable.
  • Can accommodate up to 3 different foods.


  • Must be moved with care especially if it contains different kinds of food, so that they won’t mix.
  • Steel Tiffin Box with Handle 
Lunch boxes with food in them
Source: Nicety

The steel tiffin box is only one of the different types of tiffin boxes that has an elegant design with functional features that ensure users get the utmost satisfaction from their meal. It is easy to store, clean and maintain. The steel tiffin box wholesale also comes very affordable, has a handle that makes it easier to go around with, and keeps your food in your desired temperature for hours. 


  • It is highly mobile.
  • It can retain temperature for a few hours.


  • N/A
  • Microwave Safe Stainless Steel Lunch Box

Ordinarily, stainless steel lunch boxes are deemed not safe to be used in a microwave. However, some stainless steel lunch box manufacturers have been able to develop a new and improved microwavable lunch box. In fact, they can be referred to as the world’s first microwavable stainless steel lunch box.


  • Microwave safe.
  • They are strong.
  • Can be easily moved.


  • N/A

2. Glass Lunch Box 

Glass food containers
Source: iStock 

When compared to the other types of lunch box materials, glass is not really much of a contender even though it can be arguably said to be better than both stainless steel and plastic for several reasons that are obvious. It is also for obvious reasons that glass is less used than the others for making lunch boxes.

First of all, how is glass better? Let us first mention its durability, a glass lunch box is the most durable lunch box type material. If it is not intentionally or mistakenly broken, chances are that it will last much longer in service than the rest.

Glass does not corrode, neither does it warp, rust, or change color. In fact, many people have jokingly referred to this type of lunch boxes as immortal.

With regards to how safe it is with food, the glass material is 100% safe. It is naturally free from all forms of toxins. Glassware lunch box does not warp or change its texture under any circumstances and as such is also safe for use in microwaves.

The glass material is ideal for lunch boxes that are specially designed to be airtight and leak proof. Its super airtight characteristics helps it to keep food always fresh and 100% safe. The super quality lunch box body is a finished product of heat resistant and high borosilicate glass. 

It is worthy of note that glass is eco-friendly and can be recycled a countless number of times and nothing about its quality would diminish; it is 100% sustainable. Glass joins the league of other lunch boxes that cause little to zero harm to the global ecosystem. It’s a green earth protection item, harmless to the consumers and the environment.

The reason why glass is not as commonly used to produce lunch boxes like stainless steel and plastic is because of its fragility. Any slight slip or error that leads to a fall can cause a shatter on the spot. 

Despite this, glass lunch boxes look amazing. They have a superb and intricately designed body that needs to be handled with extra care because of their fragility. One of their most exciting features is that they are seen through. You can know their content without opening the lid.

Examples of Glass Lunch Boxes

  • Round Glass Lunch Box

The round glass lunch box is very adequate for liquid based lunches such as chili, soup, chili or anything with a sauce.


  • Very portable and easy to pack.
  • You can see the contents without having to open the lid.
  • Microwave safe.


  • Very fragile.
  • Square Glass Lunch Box
glass lunch boxes of fruits placed on each other.
Source: Pinterest 

The square glass lunch box is a strong and sturdy lunch box that is four cornered with a rectangular shape at the top and bottom. It is good for storing fruit and vegetable meals.


  • The square glass lunch box is microwavable.
  • Very durable.


  • Breaks easily.
  • Selectively fits into bags.
  • Glass Lunch Containers With Compartments 

This type of lunch box is a glass partition lunch box that is designed to store more than one meal at the same time. The glass lunch containers with compartments usually come in 2, 3, and sometimes 4 partitions. They are great for people who love to serve varieties of dishes to work or school.


  • Ideal for multiple meals and veggies.
  • Great for social gatherings.


  • It can not be used to store airtight foods.

3. Plastic Lunch Box

plastic lunch boxes
Source: Pinterest 

Plastic lunch boxes have enjoyed a huge popularity since the late 1980s, a period when metal lunch boxes were experiencing decline in popularity. That was not a mere coincidence. Ever since it became popular, this material has not dipped. Plastic remains the most commonly used material. The reason for this is not far-fetched; it has several advantages which we will discuss in the ensuing paragraphs.

First of all, plastic is the cheapest material to source amongst the others hence, it is usually the cheapest and most popular found in retail stores.

Another reason for its increased popularity is that plastic lunch boxes are much lighter. In cases of needing to carry a lunchbox every day, plastic lunch boxes are extremely useful as they do not require much sweat to move. Although as lightweight as it is, plastic materials are actually very tough and are ideal for kids.

In comparison with glass, plastic outlives it because even when dropped by mistake or intentionally thrown to the ground, it does not break.

Despite all of these advantages, it’s saddled with some disadvantages, of which the biggest is its carbon footprint. Plastic can be harmful to our environment as it takes hundreds of years for it to fully decompose, eventually releasing toxins into the ground. To try to get rid of plastic waste faster, it can be burned. This however releases toxins into the air. Also, plastic is not 100% safe for the storage of food, even worse if the food is hot

So is there any form of plastic that is safe for food then? Absolutely, some variants of plastic are. Plastic Tritan for example is a commonly used material for lunch boxes because it does not contain BPA or any other bisphenol compounds at all. Plastic lunch box manufacturers make use of this material as it has all the advantages of plastic like durability and lightness, and it is devoid of its disadvantage of toxicity.

Examples of Plastic Lunch Boxes

  • Microwave Safe Plastic Lunch Box

Not all plastic lunch boxes are microwave safe. Plastic lunch boxes made from Polypropylene are safe for use in microwaves. They are safe for the health.


  • They are microwavable.
  • This type of plastic does not contain BPA.


  • It is not eco-friendly.
  • Disposable Lunch Box

Disposable lunch boxes are also very popular. Asides being cheap, they are grease-resistant and made from environmentally friendly materials, hence, a reduction in your carbon footprint. What is most interesting about disposable lunch boxes is that they are microwavable; they can be used to store hot and cold food.


  • It is cheap to purchase.
  • Prevents food from getting messy.
  • Made from eco-friendly materials.
  • It is microwavable.


  • They pose a threat to tye environment if not disposed off properly.

4. Paper Bento Box 

An empty pepper bento box
Source: Pinterest 

There are different types of bento box but the paper bento box stands out. It is perfect for organizing large meals and dishes of different varieties. Bento paper boxes are disposable food boxes made from paper. They are compartmentalized usually in 3 or four parts.

This type of lunch box has a firm cover that helps keep food locked in. Thanks to its lightweight, it is ideal for carrying food on the go. Built with premium paper, paper bento lunch boxes are take out containers that stop grease from getting through and creating a mess. They are excellent for storing hot or cold food for family occasions.

  • Wood Lunch Box 
An open wooden lunch box with 3 compartments
Source: Pinterest 

A wood lunch box is a trendy type at the moment. It is made from bamboo. Wooden materials used for food containers are one of the leaders in the greener earth system agenda; the production is eco-friendly. The Bamboo plant is an incredibly fast growing plant that is in no threat of extinction or even depletion.

Over the last decade, the wooden style lunch box has become very popular partly due to a desire to maintain a more sustainable environment and also in part to its beauty and toughness.

  • Aluminum Lunch Box
Locked silver aluminum lunch box
Source: Pinterest 

The aluminum lunch box is part of the metallic lunch box family. This compact container has a very compact and sturdy design, ideal for the roughest and toughest climates.

Aluminum lunch boxes are typically made of anodized aluminum. They are sturdy and lightweight, and as a result, perfect for storing food and easily moved around.

Lunch boxes made from aluminum are an ideal food take out pack as they are absolutely odorless and hygienic. They also contain heat-conductive properties.

  • Ceramic Lunch Box
ceramic food container
Source: Pexels

Ceramic lunch boxes are very durable and beautiful. They are perfect for storing food for camping, picnics, and microwaving. They are pretty versatile. An interesting feature of ceramic lunch boxes is that they can withstand temperatures of up to 250⁰F and even down to -40⁰. They are completely microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and freezer safe.

Ceramic lunch boxes also have an easy to design body, meaning if you are good with arts, by yourself you can do some painting on the lunch box body.

  • BPA Free Lunch Container
A blue BPA free lunch container
Source: Pinterest

The full meaning of BPA is Bisphenol A. This is an industrial chemical that is present in many plastics. BPA is a toxic chemical that when exposed to the human system causes several health problems. It has negative effects on the brain gland of fetuses and also that of little children. 

Also, it destabilizes many tissues and organs and affects many organs and tissues in the human body which eventually leads to certain setbacks in the immune system.

Using lunch containers that contain BPA is a very bad idea that can turn fatal. It is essential to look out for plastic lunch containers that are free from BPA.

Types of Lunch Box Classified by Function 

Two convex lid lunch boxes
Source: Nicety

After looking at the different types of lunch boxes by materials, it is quintessential that we check out some types of lunch boxes classified by what they do best.

1. Insulated Lunch Box 

An insulated lunch box with two compartments
Source: Pinterest 

Insulated lunch boxes are designed specially to retain food temperature. That is, the main function of this lunch box is that it keeps food stored inside at the same temperature for several hours. The vacuum between the outer layer and the inner layer is filled with a very dense foam, which is a very poor conductor of heat and as a result, the temperature of the food is trapped in.

The inner layer of insulated lunch boxes are sometimes made with either vinyl or aluminum. Because these materials are water resistant, they ensure that your food is kept fresh and doesn’t become moist.

2. Leakproof Lunch Box 

A leakproof lunch box filled with fruits
Source: Pinterest 

Leak proof or airtight lunch boxes as they are also called traps every single content in. There is no opening anywhere in its body. The chances of harmful agents whether solid, liquid, or gaseous getting into it is next to nothing, it is 100% safe and airtight. Also, users do not need to worry about spills because it is completely leakproof, hence why it is ideal for storing soup and other liquid based meals. 

3. Microwave Safe Lunch Box 

Two microwave safe food containers
Source: Pinterest 

Many food lunch boxes are not safe to be used in a microwave. Food containers that are safe for use in a microwave are often specifically labeled with “microwave safe.” Any lunch box that does not carry this label should not be used to microwave food. 

So when buying a lunch box that you intend to use often in the microwave, make sure it was made fit for it and carries the “microwave safe” inscription which is usually underneath the container.

4. Electric Lunch Box 

An electric lunch box for heating food
Source: Pinterest 

Electric lunch boxes are a portable food container that can be used to store food and also heat it at the same time. This lunch box comes with a cable plug that once fixed to an electric power source, in 30 minutes to one hour time leaves your food piping hot. This type of lunch box is ideal for people who work in offices and can not afford to leave the office during break hours. With the electric lunch box, you always have your steaming hot soups or noodles at your table.

5. Plastic Lunch Box Disposable 

A transparent disposable lunch box
Source: Unsplash

Disposable plastic lunch boxes are mostly used for take outs and also at social events. They are the cheapest materials hence why they are so commonly used. These plastic lunch boxes, though disposable, are better off recycled. This eliminates the environmental consequence of the rampant use of plastic. 

What You Need to Consider When Sourcing Lunch Box Types

Sandwiches packed into plastic lunch boxes
Source: Pixabay 

When sourcing for the ideal type of lunch box, it is necessary to keep these elements in mind: 

  • Durability

The chief among the factors to consider when sourcing for types of lunch box is durability. How strong is the material? How long can it last? It would be not a good thing for your business reputation if one has to keep changing lunch boxes within a short period. For this reason, shoppers are advised to shop from reputable plastic, wooden, and steel tiffin box manufacturers

  • BPA free

As mentioned earlier BPA is an industrial chemical that is used to make plastics. When sourcing lunch boxes, it is necessary to ensure that it is BPA free because the chemical can be cancerous.

  • Eco-friendly

Put the earth we live in mind when purchasing factory produced items. Make sure they are sustainable products that do not cause much harm to the ecosystem. In a situation where one has to make a choice of lunch boxes, it is better to go for the most eco-friendly one that will also serve the purpose for which it is needed. 

  • Functionality 

Does it serve the purpose for which it is needed? Lunch boxes have different features, some are good for retaining heat, some are ideal for microwave use, while others are great for packing multiple meals.

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