Outmeals' need for solid design
On top of a mountain in extreme cold, or under great physical stress in the jungle of Mali. No matter where an aid worker or a NATO soldier is located, highly nutritious food with long shelf life is a must. Swedish Outmeals is one of the few companies able to meet this challenge.
Outmeals’ packaged rations are real food that can be eaten cold right out of the bag. The products are made for the armed forces, emergency services, and aid organisations all over the world. For people who need to be able to perform at their peak in extreme conditions.
Packaged food must taste good and have correct nutrient composition, and it must be simple to cook. But given that the person who is going to eat it, may be in a most inaccessible place, the durability of the packaging is an equally important factor, Höckerbo points out.
"The transport packaging must endure being sent from us in Sweden all the way to a dirty and humid location in the jungle of Mali, for example. By sea, air, and land on rough roads. By using primitive transportation, such as all-terrain carriers. And then the food must sustain being packed inside someone's personal equipment for a long time.”
Produced to maximise durability and protect against humidity - Via design and smart material use.
The design process
In the past, the food rations were packed and sent in standard boxes, but when arriving at the final destination, the boxes were often broken or loose. Outmeals needed a smarter and more durable solution and contacted Stora Enso.
Challenging specifications gave unexpected benefits
Outmeals’ wishes included moisture-resistant cardboard and a stylish design that stands out. Another, a bit trickier challenge was to change the dimensions of the box. The new box needed to be made smaller in size without reducing its volume in order to pack it inside a pallet collar on a pallet. That is how the armed forces secure their cargo.
The design process led to a more elongated box with strategically placed handles on top turned out to be a functional solution.
"The new shape makes the box easier to lift closer to one’s body, which makes the 24 kilos feel much lighter. This is an ergonomic gain we didn’t expect!”