Starbucks Bistro Box
Redesign Concept

Photo of the final package design


The purpose of the assignment was to create ways ways to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging, without compromising the product.


For this project, I chose to redesign the Starbucks' Bistro Box. The Bistro Box is a very popular item sold at Starbucks which is currently made entirely out of plastic. This is for three main reasons:

When designing a new package, my concept needed to fulfill these requirements as well, but by using significantly less plastic. Before sketching, I needed to better understand Starbucks and their typical customer.

Starbucks Image

Starbucks is an iconic brand recognized all over the world for whom style and image is very important.

Starbucks is a socially conscious company that is willing to incrue higher costs in order to maintain their core values. Several examples include:

One of Starbucks' goals is to be more socially and evironmentally friendly. The company is aware of the amount of plastic they use and are actively looking for new ways to reduce the amount when possible. One way Starbucks is currently doing this is by eliminating straws from their stores. Another possible way they could reduce their use of plastic would be to consider redesigning the Bistro Box.

Current Bistro Box

Image of the current Starbucks bistro box. Clear plastic with fruit visible inside

This is the current Bistro Box. It does its job well, but uses 742 cm2 of plastic for 157 grams of food. To put that in perspective, Ottawa has over 30 Starbucks. If each store sold only one bistro box a day, that would be 22,260 cm2 (or 24 ft2) of plastic being thrown away.


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During the sketching phase I was looking for a design that could be durable while interesting and unique. I started by drawing plastic containers to get an idea of the shape needed to hold food in place. From there I explored if I could create that shape using only paper. Initially I found inspiration from the Russian Matryoshka doll which has smaller dolls inside of it. I liked this style for its ability to contain smaller objects while having unique designs on the outside of the container. From here I explored stacking potential, how it would be handled, and how it could look on display. Ultimately I came to my final design: a durable, resealable, and more sustainable package.


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The concept I came up with was a pyramid shaped package. It has an outer container that unfolds into a box tray, allowing the package to be opened and closed. The inner package has food dividers to keep food separate as well as give the package a more durable design.

It eliminates almost all the plastic used in the current bistro box. It has a plastic window on the outer box to allow customers to see the food quality inside. The package would be made of FBB (folding box board) paperboard. FBB paperboard is an industry standard when it comes to packaging food for its versatility, durability and recyclability. By printing with vegetable inks, Starbucks can further push the sustainability of the new bistro box.

Strengths Of The Design

The design is closer to following Starbucks' design and image asthetics. It can be creatively displayed both vertically and horizontally at starbucks stores. The outer container provides an opportunity for custom designs such as seasonal, specific foods, or special events.

Although the cost of producing this concept box would be more expensive than the cheaper plastic box, these costs could be offset by the marketability of advertising a newer, more sustainable bistro box which falls in line with their sustainability efforts.