How we’re designing a reusable takeout box that is sustainable, storable, & sanitary

With a new year comes new opportunities, especially for our reuse venture Cupkita

After launching Indonesia’s first reusable cup service for coffee stores this past July, Cupkita’s efforts to provide customers with a sustainable alternative to single-use cups were brought to a halt as a result of lockdown restrictions. Nonetheless, our mission to reform the take-out industry has not been discouraged, and we are thrilled to announce the introduction of a plastic-free food delivery service by Cupkita! 

Approximately 42 percent of restaurants around the world have added delivery options this year, with takeout companies seeing a whopping increase in sales. 

  1. Business vendors strive to achieve customer trust in order to enhance brand loyalty. Such trust is gained by adding packaging seals to orders, which act as a stabilizer for delivery and let customers know that health protocols are being followed. This development emerged as a result of the pandemic, as it has become critical that food is packaged in such a way as to maximize hygiene and reduce the risk of contamination. A restaurant owner shared his thoughts: “We have customers that ask about hygiene, which is why we decided to seal the bag.” 
  1. Another learning informing the design of our business model is that Indonesians value food packaging with high storage functionality. Discounted prices are usually offered for orders made in bulk, thus people would prefer to save on delivery fees by stocking up on takeaways. With this in mind, we recognize the need for Cupkita’s food boxes to be durable and hold meals for multiple days, such that customers can eat directly out of the container when they are ready to eat a meal. A customer shared her own experiences in regard to the storage functionality of meal containers: “I find that my mom keeps and repurposes all the durable packaging she receives from vendors. It’s all over my kitchen, on the shelves, countertop, in the fridge, everywhere!” However, it is important to note that, despite these attempts at home reuse, thin-wall products are bound to make their way into the environment eventually, hence the need for Cupkita’s development of a zero-waste alternative to single-use packaging that will keep the packaging in the loop.

Here at the Zero Waste Living Lab, we develop consumer-driven solutions that are desirable in the market — if the market changes, so do we. Upon recognizing that the demand for coffee cups has decreased in light of store closures and limited capacities, we have shifted Cupkita’s focus toward the design of food boxes that will use packaging seals to ensure customer trust and have high storage functionality. Along with these elements, there are a number of other principles that will inform the product design. 

Packaging that is time-saving, compact, ready-to-eat, and visually appealing will further ensure that all stakeholders have a successful delivery experience. Implementing these solutions into our product design will ensure that restaurants, drivers, and customers alike experience Cupkita as a trustworthy, reliable, and sustainable service system for plastic-free food delivery.

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