Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

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When I saw this unusual looking lunchbox via the delicious bento tag stream, my first thought was, “Wow, that looks so cool”. The Goodbyn™ Lunchbox is a one-piece, molded plastic container with fitted lid, that looks like an odd/cute (or in anime parlance, kimo kawaii) space alien or animal. It comes packaged with 275 stickers, so kids can customize it to their hearts’ content. Looking inside, it seems perfect for those kids (and adults, if you are brave enough to carry this to the office) who hate their food to touch. Yes, I know you are out there, you touchy-food haters!

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It comes with an 8.5 oz. water container, which the website suggests can double as a cooling element if it’s filled with ice cubes and a beverage. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, made of recyclable and safe plastic, etc. The slick website emphasizes the environmental advantages of a dedicated lunchbox, but bento enthusiasts like you know that already.

The only thing that makes me pause about this colorful beast is - well, it’s huge, judging from these photos:

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The site doesn’t say how much it weighs or its capacity (the dimensions are 13 x 8.5 x 3.2 inches or 33 x 21.6 x 8.1 cm - thanks Midknyt!), but judging just from how much it can hold (whole banana in the upper compartment, etc.) I am assuming the plastic is fairly sturdy. So, I am really wondering how portable it is, especially for small kids.

Other than that though, it is one cool looking lunch/bento box! It’s available for preorder on their website, and they have a list of retailers too. The retail price is $29.95, and it comes in four colors.

What do you think about this box? If you decide to order it or have already, I’d love to hear your first hand impressions of it.

Incidentally, this is a return of the previously discontinued “Bento Item of the Week” series where I talk about various bento related goods and equipment. I won’t be holding myself to a weekly update, but hey - I like doing product reviews. Also, if there’s a particular bento box, equipment or something that you’d like to review and see it published here on Just Bento, let me know at maki at makikoitoh com.

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

That does look bulky. And I like boxes that "stand" the way you pack them, so the food doesn't all shift once you put it in your bag, you know? But all the compartments, the strange/cute design--I love those!

Takat
Writing away about my latest 3 week adventure through China at the Katacomb

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I like it. It's not super-cute. And it is huge. I have looked at bentos at our local store and they are just too tiny. also like they separate bins. Saves on extra containers/bags. Do bentos have to be all cold foods? I would love something like a pyrex insert so hubby could microwave certain leftovers. Does this exist in Bento boxes?

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

Aischa you might be interested in thermal bentos - the best known one is Mr. Bento.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I have to agree about the size. They do look cute though and I would be one of those adults who doesn't mind using them at the office. I am very curious also to see what others think.

Thanks for doing these reviews! I am still undecided on my first bento box purchase. I'm going to case a couple of local shops and then the online ones you suggest.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I particularly like bento-type boxes that are dishwasher safe ... that's important for me. I'll do some handwashing, but I'm not likely to do it every day!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

If anyone else has used these, I'd like to know if the inner compartments are completely sealed off from one another. That is to say, if I packed a sandwich in one compartment and something wet in another, would the wet thing leak into the sandwich? That's the one and only problem I have with the Lock 'n Lock bentos--the sides of the inner dividers don't reach entirely up to the lid.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

We bought two of these for my 7 year old. They are great! Lots of room, not heavy, one continuous lid snaps down around each compartment. Foods do NOT fall out of one compartment and into another if it is sealed properly! Yeah! Multiple compartments without multiple lids to lose! We practiced sealing the lid carefully a few times before sending the goodbyn to school for the first time. That's really important as one needs to press in several spots on the lid, and listen for the "thump" sounds which tell you that you are sealing each compartment. My 7 year old has no trouble with it, but I made sure to stress to him that he needs to be sure it is completely sealed before putting it away in his back-pack. So far so good. And I love that there are no little corners to harbour crumbs, AND the whole thing is top-rack dishwasher safe... even with the stickers on!!!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

It looks pretty ... weird, in my opinion. And too big for me to carry it to school. It looks like something that I'd have to carry out of my backpack, and that's a real hassle when you're going from one classroom to another. If it came in black or white, some sort of neutral color, I think I'd like it more--the color's something that might draw unwanted attention. But that's just my opinion. :P

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

They do come in 4 adult colors -- check out the main website to see what they are.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

all those nooks and crannies look like a nightmare to clean. This is not something that I would purchase.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

The site says its dishwasher safe.

Found the dimensions

The FAQs were hiding on their site in the bottom left corner, but in them it lists the dimensions: 13 x 8.5 x 3.2 inches. (Which, for you metric types, would be 33 x 21.6 x 8.1 cm)

Also, The Fat Lady, it says that, "The individually-sealing compartments make sure that your sandwich doesn’t taste like a banana or your chicken korma like your sweet rice roll." It also talks in another one how it is safe to put soup in but they don't recommend microwaving in it since it is plastic, so they should be pretty well sealed.

The rest of the FAQs, if you wanted to look, are here: http://www.goodbyn.com/goodbyn/faqs.aspx

They are cute, but they're a little big and a little spendy, and I wonder if all the little compartments would end up making it more difficult to pack things in in the long run. I've been debating getting the Laptop Lunche's 2.0 box (I have the original) since they now have the containers that fit in it that looks like it will fit sandwiches. That seems to be my problem with bento boxes - sometimes I just want to bring a traditional (over here anyway) lunch with a sandwich and none of my boxes fits a full sandwich nicely.

I do like this box though...

:)

Re: Found the dimensions

Thanks for searching better than I did for the water-tightness facts!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

it looks like a robot, kinda. I probably won't buy it, b/c the reason that i got into bento making is b/c the cute tiny two tier boxes. I would imagine washing it is like washing a greasy ice tray. have to tediously go into each compartments w/ a good wipe.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I love the idea, but the size is just to much for my Kindergarten-aged kid. Something with half as many compartments (but still integrating the drink bottle) would be more her speed. I also love the sticker idea but wonder how well they hold up to daily washing, especially in the dishwasher as shown on the product site.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I'm torn - If they were smaller I would definitely buy one, but then again, not having to wash a million little compartments for bento is really appealing to me...I just wonder if it would fill her entire backpack.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I'm torn - If they were smaller I would definitely buy one, but then again, not having to wash a million little compartments for bento is really appealing to me...I just wonder if it would fill her entire backpack.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

Hmm.

I like the idea of it, because I AM one of those people. One of the things I've discovered this summer is that my father has, at last (I turn 21 tomorrow), recognised the fact that I'm one of those people who don't like their food to touch -- this makes family meals that much more wonderful.

My current bento set works pretty well for me though. It has a big thermos thing for hot food, and then 3 little containers for side-dishes and snacks.

I don't like the water bottle. It's not big enough for me -- I carry a one litre one to university -- so it's just going to take up extra space.

Do not like the cooling element idea...

Hi Maki,
This is more a general rant over this "drink doubles as a chilling element" idea, but I just have to - in New Zealand, the country where people wear their woolly clothes indoors because they can't be bothered to build proper houses or heat them, this idea gets chewed over and over and over in the food magazines, too, and it drives me (an acupuncturist) crazy!
So here comes:
Eating chilled foods weakens the digestive system, and hence the immune system.
Chinese medicine has known that for a long time, and I see it in my practice all the time.
If I could make one thing go away in the world, it would be the idea that food should be chilled or fridge-temperature when it's eaten (except for small amounts of desserts, e.g.).
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for *storing* food correctly. And in a hot Tokyo summer it probably makes sense to put a chilling element next to your lunch box because by the time you eat your food it will have warmed up to "room temperature" (hopefully not quite) rather than having stewed at 30 degrees for several hours.
But an ice-pack chilled lunch in a temperate climate is just detrimental to one's well-being - in the few hours from home to lunch in a temperate climate, no micro-organism explosion occurs.
And thus endeth my lecture, thanks for reading.
Cheers, Rebecca :)

Re: Do not like the cooling element idea...

Well, a couple of things:

- I doubt that a chilled bottle of juice or something in the middle of the lunchbox is really going to 'chill' the food. It probably just keeps it nicely cool at best.
- Normally bento boxes are not carried with ice packs or cooling elements (just in case you thought they were) but are meant to be eaten at room temperature. As a matter of fact warming a bento lunch or carrying a warm thermal bento is more common than the other way around
- However, some meals - especially ones that are typically carried in Western style lunch boxes, may benefit from being chilled, e.g. salads, not to mention just tasting better that way. Warm green salad - ew.
- In hot summer months I would say that erring on the side of caution and carrying a potentially perishable lunch with a small ice pack is not a bad idea. In cooler months of course, it's not necessary (or if you have air conditioning)
- Keep in mind that Just Bento readers live in all parts of the world, with all kinds of climates (even just in the United Stataes) In some areas a cooling element may be an absolute necessity (thinking of Texas for example...)

Re: Do not like the cooling element idea...

The generation time for bacteria is 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes bacteria will divide into daughter cells.

The expansion rate IS explosive, on purpose. Bacteria have had a LOT longer time to evolve than we humans have, they know how to master their environment.

Its better to have chilly food (not frozen!) than to give one's child salmonella, listerosis, or other little nasties. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodborne_illness)

There is a reason umeboshi were/are used inside onigiri and bentos. Real old-style umeboshi were lactofermented and thus were teaming with lactobacilli - beneficial bacteria that out-compete the toxin producing ones.

Yogurt is filled with lactobacilli (brands that have live cultures). It is hard to find real lactofermented pickled foods, live yogurt a whole lot easier!

Stay away from things like mayo, stick with things like mustard (in vinegar) and you go a LONG way to food safety.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I actually like the container. I have to pack lunch for my little 1st grader. I like the fact that there's a container inside. My little one lost her water bottle at school before. Bcos, the lunch bag was too small for the water bottle.

Excellent size for raw vegans

I think this is a great idea for raw vegan bentos. I don't really like my food to touch, either! Esp foods with sauce or are a bit moist in nature. The size is very attractive because raw vegans eat ALOT in a meal but the cutesy lid makes me hesitate. I would feel a little shy to take this one out. I hope there will be an adult version soon. Keep us posted!

Re: Excellent size for raw vegans

The Goodbyn is coming out with 4 more colours for ages 10 years +. The new coloured lunch boxes don't have 'ears' and the colours are more subdued: charcoal, white, denim and plum. I saw the colours on the Goodbyn faceboook fan page.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I think these look pretty neat! I especially like that all the parts are dishwasher safe... no more stinky lunchboxes!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I like that without stickers, the box is just inconspicuous enough to pass as an oddly shaped tupperware, but also nice looking enough to be happy to see it for lunch. I adore compartments, not because I have a food-touching issue, but for some reason, i can never get my food to stay up properly in most of my square, uncompartmentalized bentos! No surprise here though; I'm concerned about the size. I suppose the way most Western lunches are packed is pretty airy, but even so, could a child be eating that much? I'm definitely intrigued enough to buy one if I save up some money.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

My boy/girl twins have these - they're in 1st grade - and I don't think they're all that huge. They fit fine in their backpacks. The compartments are 100% sealed off from one another, and you can fit a ton of food in them - more than my kids need, really. The only drawback I've found so far is that they're kind of hard to open, and REALLY hard to seal up tight - my kids would never be able to fully close them. I have to put them on the counter and systematically go around each "rib" and mash it closed. It's not hard for an adult to do. Otherwise, my kids love them and I love them, too. The stickers are the best part, too!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I have the same problem with this bento. It is hard to be closed tightly even though i follow up its' instruction. BTW, I am adult.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

My kindergartener's Goodbyn lunchbox arrived Monday, so it's had one day of actual use. He said it was big, but easy to carry and no heavier than his old lunchbox. He is very pleased that his drink and his fruit (which he prefers whole) all fit inside. He isn't so good at closing it, so some crumbs leaked out into his backpack. That aside, it kept his lunch in great shape without plastic bags, was easy to clean without hurting the stickers (so far), and he loves its customized appearance.
I could see using it with fairly thick dips, but I would worry about thinner things leaking.
The lunchbox would work for adult use, if the cuteness isn't a problem, but the drink container might be a little small, especially if that's your primary beverage source for the day.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I am so disappointed!!! What a great idea but so poorly engineered it's un-usable. I was so excited to send this with my daughter to hold her lunch - but unfortunately she couldn't close it - and neither could the teacher!! After I washed it once even I couldn't really close it to be air tight;-< Unfortunately it's been more than 30 days and my $35 piece of green plastic is up on top of the fridge gathering dust. DO NOT PURCHASE THIS GOODBYN LUNCHBOX. The idea is exactly what I wanted - but this product isn't it - even the little drink box doesn't close well. DON'T DO IT...

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

Wow, that is a shame...it seems like a great (and somewhat different) idea for a lunch box too. Thanks for the report...

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

My 5-year-old son was thrilled with this lunchbox, and immediately decorated it to his liking with the included stickers. That is about where the delight ended!

Even though we read carefully the included instructions on how to put the top on the lunchbox and practiced faithfully, he could never get it on himself, despite working really hard at it. I had a difficult time myself, and his teacher at school has never been able to get it on, despite my trying to teach her how. He carries the lunchbox out of school flat, with the lid just resting on the top because no one at school can get it back on after lunchtime.

After the lid (mistakenly) went through the dishwasher once (with NO heated dry, only wash), the lid is now impossible for even me to seal. It warped on one side.

We are disappointed in this purchase, and my son just gets sad every time he sees that cool lunchbox that he will never use again. He had been so excited about it.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

I've had my (two) Goodbyns for over 6 months and the bottom and the lid go through a heated wash/dry dishwasher at least twice a week and still close without a problem. If it is warped, I'd contact the company and let them know - the plastic shouldn't be doing that! It's a great lunchbox - after my son had his, I bought one for myself a week later! I find myself eating much healthier with this box.... LOVE the Goodbyn!

We LOVE ours

We have 4 Goodbyns and have had them for 8 months. They go through the diswasher on a hot wash at least 2x a week and I have them on the bottom shelf. They can be a challenge to seal but once you learn how (push in the middle and then seal around the edges) it works great. My 1st and 3rd graders use it no problem and my 3 1/2 yr old and 1 1/2 yr olds teachers love it as it is only 1 container for them to open and close instead of multiple containers. We put apple sauce, yogurt, and soups, and they dont' leak. The boxes seem big on the website but they are not as huge as they look. They fit fine in my kids back packs and my little ones can carry them al by themsleves with the handle. I am glad they have the 10+ colors now as I think we will move to those later. I will definately purchase more of these if we need to. They are sturdy and are holding up well. They don't look any different than they did when we got them 8 months ago. I think it is a good purchase and would definately recommend these.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

My 8-yo is starting his second school year with the same Goodbyn. I asked him if he wanted a different lunchbox, and the answer was a solid NO. He really loves it, and he's proud that we're not using all of the little plastic wrappings that contribute to our city's garbage problems. We wash it in the dishwasher 2-3 times a week and it still seals well and the stickers are still mostly intact.

I love that I don't have to worry about whether or not he'll come home with all of the containers and lids that he went to school with (a chronic problem in the past). He's great at closing it up tight, but I also made a simple elastic harness that clips around it with a parachute clip because the way his class was storing and retrieving lunchboxes meant that the "ears" were occasionally getting snagged by other lunchboxes and the lid would be pulled partially off. The harness solved the problem nicely. It also lets me slip a string cheese or small bag of nuts under the elastic in the front for his class's mid-morning snack, so he doesn't have to open the box to get at his snack.

I'd buy another of these in a hot minute, and one of these days may even get around to buying one for myself. :)

Smells like plastic and transfers to flavor too

LOVED the idea of this. With three kids who bring lunch every day, making lunch and cleaning up is crazy here. Bought four last week and am returning them today. Tops to the drinks don't close easily. I just ordered what I think is the right solution for us from planetbox.com. Stainless steel, closes easily, no plastic. They haven't arrived yet.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

After much reviewing about this product, I decided to take the plunge and order one. It has obvious kid appeal and after showing my son the lunchbox on line, he wanted one. He is five, BTW, and I have obvious concerns about he being able to open and close it correctly. As a side note, we own a laptop lunchbox and my son has had a hard time opening it at lunchtime. I have my fingers crossed and will write a follow-up review when I have one.

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

Worst lunch box ever made!! I bought one for my son last year at the beginning of grade 2 as a school fundraiser and part of the litter less lunch program at his school.
If it hadn't of cost me $50 by the time it arrived at my door it would have been in the garbage or returned (but I wasn't going to get re-imbursed the shipping charges for either direction)
It looks huge in the picture but in reality it's not, you can't fit a sandwich made from store bought bread unless it's cut in half and god forbid you bake your own bread in a bread maker it just won't fit at all.
An apple or orange needs to be cut into pieces no matter what compartment you use because it's just not deep enough.
The drink container leaked from day one.
Half the time it's so hard to open that when the lid does come off the food inside of it goes flying out of it.
My son can't close the thing properly and neither can I, I have to put it on the floor and push with all my weight (95lbs) to hear the thumping sound of it closing. so he came home with it everyday open dropping crumbs and leftovers in his backpack.
I washed it in the dishwasher after my son spent hours decorating and putting his name on it on the top rack without heated dry and all of the stickers were falling off after the 1st washing.
I am completely dissapointed in this product and would not reccomend it to anyone!

Re: Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

Easy to close, easy to clean. My now six-year old son has had the small Goodbyn for two years without a trouble.

Not insulated though so maybe I'll move to the big one now his stomach is becoming bottomless so I can use the bottle as an ice pack. I figure if the bottle isn't great I can slip in an ice pack.

There's a comment here about sandwiches not fitting - that's true unless they're cut in half, without crusts and stacked. I've reasoned that that's an OK compromise given how parent-friendly this lunch box is.

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