Places to buy lunch packing supplies (in the 510) - 510 Families
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Places to buy lunch packing supplies (in the 510)

Back to school and back to lunch packing? This awesome guest post and photos are from El Cerrito mom, Wendy Copley. For more from Wendy, see

Back-to-school time means a return to the daily task of packing lunches for our kids. While it can feel like a chore at times you can make the task more fun for yourself — and maybe even encourage your kids to actually eat what you pack — by using fun lunch boxes, bags, and accessories.

I have also written a very thorough round-up of lunch boxes with a comparison chart and carrying cases on my own website for those of you getting started for the first time.

Bento box lunchbox ideas for back-to-school in the 510 by wendolonia
Cute lunch made by El Cerrito mom, Wendolonia

Here’s where to find them in the (510):

Whole Foods (Oakland, Berkeley)
I was as surprised as anyone to discover a really great selection of  lunch-packing supplies at a grocery store, but Whole Foods has one of the better collections I’ve found in the East Bay. You can purchase tiffins, Laptop Lunch systems, and a variety of stainless steel boxes along with insulated lunch bags and more water bottles than I think I’ve ever seen in one place in my life.  Whole Foods also gets extra credit for carrying the Eco Lunchbox line which is owned by an East Bay mom! The well-hidden lunch box area can be found at the back of the store near the intersection of the purified water dispenser and the end of the butcher counter.

Zipang (El Cerrito)
On the north end of the 510, Zipang stocks lots of inexpensive lunch supplies. Bento box enthusiasts such as myself tend to make a run on the store when a new shipment comes in from Japan so selection can vary dramatically from one visit to the next, but they always have several different styles of bento boxes that are easy for little hands to open in stock. The store also has a small selection of supplies for spicing up your child’s lunch – decorative picks, egg molds, and cute plastic dividers that keep foods from touching each other in the lunch box (perish the thought!).

Daiso (El Cerrito, Berkeley, Alameda)
With three East Bay locations, all parents can jazz up their children’s lunches on the cheap (heck! even the Daiso in Union City is sometimes worth the journey). This store has one of the best selections of bento supplies that I’ve ever seen and almost everything sports a very affordable $1.50 price tag. Bento boxes, cute silicon cups, tiny forks, adorable skewers with animals on the ends – Daiso has it all. Allow some time to browse the rest of the store as well. It’s almost impossible to come out of this treasure trove empty-handed.

Need some ideas for what to put in all these lunch boxes? Check out my list of Lunch Box Ideas.

Whole Foods Market, Oakland
230 Bay Pl
Oakland, CA
(510) 834-9800

Whole Foods Market, S. Berkeley
3000 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 649-1333

Whole Foods Market, N. Berkeley
1025 Gilman St
(510) 809-8293

10562 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA
(510) 528-5210

Daiso, El Cerrito
7000 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, CA
(510) 649-1873

Daiso, Berkeley
2369 Telegraph Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 649-1873

Daiso, Alameda
2202-R South Shore Center
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 814-7206

Wendy Copley writes about cooking, crafts, parenting and her obsession with lunch boxes at Wendolonia.

[Photo by Wendy Copley, all rights reserved]

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6 thoughts on “Places to buy lunch packing supplies (in the 510)”

  1. I know this post is a couple of years old, but I thought I’d add a comment in case anyone else is looking for lunch box gear because a new Daiso store has opened up in Alameda at the South Shore Center. I was so excited since I always had to trek up to El Cerrito for Ichaban kan or to the city if I wanted to find cheapie but cute bento boxes and other lunch box accessories (little forks, silicone liners to separate foods, cute lunch picks).

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  3. Berkeley Bowl West has cool training chopsticks by Edison for kids (and one for adults) that are fun adds to bento lunches, too! I don’t see them in too many places.

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