Black+Blum Founder Dan Black On The New Food Flask, Working With Kickstarter, And What’s Ahead For The Brand

The Food Flask comes with a spoon and is perfect for both hot and cold items

Imagine having a container to pack your lunch in that can not only keep your meal hot for six hours but also maintain your food’s coldness for up to eight hours. On top of it, this flask would be BPA-free, made of quality stainless steel, and have a vegan leather strap. Fortunately, these are all traits of the recently-released Food Flask from Black+Baum and currently priced under $30.

Creator of the Food Flask, Black+Blum was established in 1998 and based in London’s Oxo Tower. The company has successfully funded many of its projects via Kickstarter, relying on original, sustainable designs for its products. Another example is its Eau Good bottle, which has Binchotan active charcoal and in just one hour will reduce the chlorine and chemicals found in your tap water; its initial charcoal is meant to last for three months. Black+Blum also makes ice trays, door stops, dish racks, candles, candle holders, tea light holders, chopping boards, wine racks, potato mashers — just about any sort of portable non-electronic device that you would hope to have in your kitchen or living room.

To learn more about the popular aforementioned Food Flask, I spoke with Black+Blum founder and designer Dan Black. More on Black+Baum can be found online at www.blackblum.com.

Where did the idea for this product come from? Have you often carried around a flask?

Dan Black: We wanted a no-nonsense food flask that could be enjoyed by adults and children alike. It needed to be compact, easy to open and close, easy to wash, fill, and most importantly, keep the contents hot — or cold. There were already other food flasks on the market, but most seemed slightly-gimmicky with too many plastic parts and fold up spoons. We wanted something which would function well and be made from high-quality materials that would stand the test of time. The combination of high-quality brushed stainless steel, vegan leather strap, and a hint of color with the spoon made an appealing combination.

The spoon is no-nonsense with an ergonomic shape that hugs the flask, so it isn’t awkward when packing, and the length of the handle makes it easy to ladle out the contents right at the bottom. I’ve always enjoyed using flasks, whether on a long walk or even on a commute. It somehow gives a sense of luxury and warmth when you can have a hot cup of stew mid-journey.

What do you usually like to fill your flask with?

Dan Black: This is a very personal answer, but I love Lancashire hot pot. If you’re not familiar with this dish, it is slow-cooked lamb with potatoes, onions, and carrots in a thick gravy. Delicious!

What makes this flask different from other flasks?

Dan Black: We have simplified the design to avoid any superfluous details or gimmicks. There are no foldup spoons, foldaway handles, or details that will one day break or be difficult to clean. You’d be amazed how much harder it is coming up with a good stripped-back design without superfluous detail, but we think the end result is much more appealing.

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Was there any hesitation in calling this a flask since people often like to associate flasks with liquor?

Dan Black: “Flask” does have a nostalgic feel, but rather than associating it with liquor, we associated with a thermos “flask.” The hope was that by calling it “food flask,” users would understand that it can carry more solid foods than just soup and that they would be kept hot.

Any other products you or your company are currently working on?

Dan Black: We’re really excited to be launching a new active filter, or infuser bottle, on Kickstarter. It will be called Eau Good Duo and is an extension from our other Binchotan charcoal filter range of bottles. This is definitely aimed at the active lifestyle market, and this is part of the reason why we are launching to the Kickstarter community, where we feel it will really resonate.

When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

Dan Black: My wife and I have three children aged 8, 6, and 4. Combine this with two big dogs — Rhodesian Ridgebacks — and I wouldn’t say we have too much free time. But we like doing things together as a family and are lucky enough to live in the countryside, so I do a lot of woodland walks, which I love. Somehow, I think conversations are better when you are walking. For myself, I love doing still life or landscape paintings. I never really studied art at school, I was always concentrating on design, but one day, I’d love to go to art school… when time allows! (laughs)

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Do you have a favorite restaurant in your hometown?

Dan Black: My hometown is called Stamford, which is in the county of Lincolnshire. It has lots of old beautiful limestone architecture with narrow streets and alleyways. The main road running through it used to be the main road running from London to Scotland, so there are lots of old pubs that would have been old coaching inns where horse-drawn carriages would have stopped for the night. There is one in particular called the Bull and Swan, which I love. It serves lots of delicious locally-sourced food and ales and even has its own walled garden, where it grows its own seasonal vegetables.

What has been your favorite album of 2017?

Dan Black: Human by Rag’n’Bone Man.

Finally, Dan any last words for the kids?

Dan Black: I hope this doesn’t sound boring, but “buy once, buy well” — or get your parents to take on this life lesson. Try and only buy things that will last and you’ll enjoy using forever. Seeing how much wasted plastic toys my children get given, I’m always really conscious of it… especially as I’m a designer who needs to be responsible for the products I bring into the world.

[Featured Image by Dan Black]