Fish and Chips have been part of New Zealand culture for many years and is known as a dish icon of the nation. Whatever the origin, New Zealanders chomp their way through about seven million servings of chips a week, or about 120,000 tons a year. Fish and chips shops are established on every street and have become part of the New Zealand lifestyle.
So reads the introduction to designer Casey Ng's description of the BoxBag, a packaging concept that promises to deliver a better user experience—not to mention savory satisfaction—to the Fish and Chips fanatic. He's modified the existing packaging 'design,' one that itself informs consumer behavior, to complete a feedback loop:
The tradition of this dish lies in the process of unraveling the newspaper packaging into a open dish to share between friends and family and eating in an outdoor location... Traditionally, the Fish and Chips packaging is a two-step wrapping process of plain white newsprint and then newspaper. The packaging is cheap, [easily] wrapped and unwrapped, with minimal preparation but provides sufficient insulation and soak up the excess grease.
To hear our own Core77 Design Awards Director (and New Zealand native) Jacqui Khiu tell it, the tried-and-true tradition is part and parcel of the New Zealand fish and chips experience. The piping hot deliciousness is invariably bundled in two layers of paper to be ritualistically unwrapped and enjoyed.
Enter the BoxBag:
The BoxBag is a combination design between a paper bag and a carton incorporating all of the traditional fish and chips packaging factors, [updated for] the modern-day consumer. The process of this design uses one sheet of plain newsprint to wrap the Fish and Chips and is then placed into this BoxBag, providing insulation and freshness. The packaging is purposely designed taller than a typical paper bag, encouraging the consumer to rip the bag open. Once the packaging is ripped, it will reveal the custom designed newspaper on the inside. Each article in the newspaper introduces the best of New Zealand landscapes, providing anecdote and information to the consumer whilst eating.
The BoxBag is also designed with consumers who like eating on the go in mind. The tab located at the back, linking to a decorative perforation, circulates around the BoxBag. This aesthetic and functional perforated line allows the consumer to rip around the whole packaging and turning it into an open carton. This method not only provides convenience to the consumer but also encourages the ripping tradition of Fish and Chips,
The cardboard bottom serves as an elegant update to the prosaic brown paper bag, providing insulation and an inexpensive container to boot. Moreover, "the packaging is flat-packed prior to being used" and the newsprint top portion functions as a regular paper bag, which can be folded, rolled or torn for convenience.
Just as the carton supports its gastronomical contents, the newspaper provides further added value with cultural content: "Not only does fish and chips provide a Kiwi experience to the tourist industry, now it will also tell a story about Aotearoa."