Outmeals’ packaged rations are real food that can be eaten cold right out of the bag. Available to purchase in stores, they are a popular choice for all sorts of adventurers. However, the products are primarily made for the armed forces, emergency services, and aid organizations all over the world. For people who need to be able to perform at their peak in extreme conditions.
"Our food is often consumed in more or less stressful situations. From really delicate situations during peacekeeping missions to exercises where people are being evaluated. I am an officer, and I know what it's like at the front line when things get tough," says Pelle Höckerbo who founded Outmeals after having spent 12 years in the defense forces including several international assignments.
Packaging that has to withstand even in a wet jungle
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 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.”
Away from broken boxes through collaboration in DesignStudio
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.
“We sat down together in their design studio, with our products and a plan on the table. It was great to see such genuine interest in creating a really good solution with a minimal amount of wasted material,” says Pelle Höckerbo.
“We’re a small customer to Stora Enso in this context, but our customer experience was quite the opposite: we felt really prioritized. As if we were being served by a young company that was chasing its first major project,” Höckerbo continues.
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.
Impossible, was the first thought, but eventually 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!” Höckerbo says.
Half the pallets carry the same amount of products
The new shape of the box turned out so efficient that it now fits the same amount of products as before but on half as many pallets. This efficiency gain makes warehousing easier and reduces both transport costs and CO2 emissions.
"All of these benefits combined are an incredibly good selling point for us and guarantee a sustainable quality product all the way," says Pelle Höckerbo.