You asked. We got answers!
As you know, Edison Nation has partnered with Full Circle Home to run an innovation search for innovations in food storage products that is slated to close on Monday, July 17, at 11:59 PM EST.
To inspire some last minute ideas, we’ve collected your questions and posed them to the Full Circle Home team!
Before we get started with the Q&A, here is a quick overview of the search:
Full Circle Home believes that products shouldn’t just be functional, pretty to look at or environmentally aware… they should be all three (and more).
Full Circle Home’s products balance form, function, affordability and responsibility.
They are now looking for food storage innovations for in the home or on the go.
Their goal is to be a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the dozens of plastic lunch/bento box solutions on the market, a more design-conscious alternative to the utilitarian stainless steel options and a more durable and affordable alternative to some of the glass to-go containers.
Full Circle Home is looking for products that:
- Can be made with sustainable and/or healthy materials
- Keep food fresh
- Can be easily portable
- Are easy to store (locking lids, etc.)
- Are leak-proof
- Have modular features (divider inserts)
- Can preserve food (vacuum seals)
- Offer clean design
- Provide portion control
- Can capitalize on new food trends
Now, let’s get to your questions!
Q: I’d like to know what the Full Circle Team believes are the major “pain points” consumers have with food storage, both on-the-go and at home.
We believe there is a lack of options that offer style, sustainability, functionality and value all in one solution. Many people are trying to avoid using plastic food containers but currently most stainless steel options look like camping equipment, not what a professional wants to pull out of their bag. The glass options are heavy, easily breakable and therefore not very suitable for bringing food on the go. They also can be difficult to store at home.
If a food container could be beautiful looking, made from a healthier material and be easy to transport and clean, we think that would solve several problems. Also, with portion control being so popular with consumers, we think storage with leak proof dividers would give users more options for what they can pack. In addition, this is not a very innovative category. We think adding a twist to a product that makes it easier for people to eat healthy, know what they store, keep it fresher for longer, and perhaps make food storage a little more fun, would be very popular.
Also, we are fans of simple innovations that solve problems, rather than adding gimmicks or gadgets.
Q: Are you interested in items made with *biodegradable* material, or are you looking for durable items only?
Durable, reusable, easy to clean.
Q: Price point (range) for food storage. In today’s world we have everything from Gladware to Rubbermaid. Both serve food storage needs and both are aimed at different, yet valuable markets. Gladware is a low-end, temporary semi-disposable item, while the Rubbermaid stuff is more costly, yet designed to last a really, really long time. There is a huge difference in price point between those two, yet both products are still around and serve their market segments quite well.
We wouldn’t consider Rubbermaid to be relatively costly. For us, it still falls in the category of cheaper plastic options. Given that we are looking for materials other than plastic, we would likely be at a price point higher than Rubbermaid, but do not want to be the most expensive on the market.
Q: Define Earth Friendly. Earth-Friendly materials can be defined in a variety of ways and is mostly due to one’s opinion. For instance, cork is a natural material that is harvested in thin layers from the bark of the tree. Only so much can be stripped away or else you kill the tree or open it to diseases. Due to the growing demand for this excellent material, demand easily outpaces supply. Enter synthetics such as borosilicate glass and food grade (medical grade) silicone. Even natural rubber cannot compete with the valuable and varying formulations of silicone, period.
For this category we think something that can convince more people to take their food on-the-go is going to be a more sustainable option. This means both for to-go containers, as well as prep & store at home.
You are correct, there are a wide variety of ways to define earth-friendly from materials to a behavior it promotes, but what we want to focus on is providing a healthy, portable solution that truly replaces wasteful disposable products or take out lunch. A lot of people are turned off to the idea of bringing food on the go, because they don’t have a storage solution they are happy with. We use materials from compostable plastics & bamboo, to recycled plastic and glass. It really depends on the use and if your sustainability goals are focused more on the production or disposal part of the life cycle. For this product, we want something that is going to be reusable for longer and replace disposable or less durable options.
Q: I have no trouble creating the ultimate *anything*. I do need to know what the price point or target MSRP is first though.
That’s great! Price points will really depends on the product and materials. If something has high value, function and valuable materials that is going to affect the price point. A single plastic container is going to be priced very differently from a set of nesting containers, or a stainless steel bento box with locking lid and silicone bumpers, for example. So have fun with this and create something that solves the problems and we will figure out how to manufacture it and sell it at its appropriate value. That being said, we don’t want to create the most expensive solution out there so keeping cost in mind is still important.