I looked at the tag inside my granddaughter's soft-sided lunch box and guess what I found? Of course, it said made in China. So, I began a search for lunch boxes made in the US.
Here is what I discovered:
Aladdin has been an America company for more that 90 years. The first character lunchbox it made, Hopalong Cassidy, was manufactured in 1933.
At the bottom of this message is an email response I received from Aladdin industries when I asked which of their products are still made in the USA. Sadly, the answer is NONE.
The company sold out and moved to China in 2001.
THERMOS Brand hard plastic lunch boxes, on the other hand, are still manufactured in the USA and they are inexpensive (usually about $5). I received an email response from the company rep, John Golden (firstname.lastname@example.org) stating:
Thermos LLC has manufacturing facilities domestically and in Asia. AllI repeat, only the Thermos hard plastic lunch kits are made in USA, not the soft-sided.
Vacuumware, Soft-Sided Coolers and Lunch Kits are manufactured in our Asian facilities and the Hard Plastic Lunch Kit is manufactured domestically.
Email from Aladdin:
From: Belinda Steele Belinda.Steele@pmi-worldwide.com
Date: Nov 26, 2007 12:26 PM
Subject: Re General Inquire
Aladdin Industries was sold in 2001 and at that time, all manufacturing
was moved to our factories in China.
We have maintained the same workmanship and quality as when the products were made in the States.
Belinda Steele Consumer Customer Service Rep. U.S.
DIRECT 615-750-1909 - MAIN 615 750 1900 - FAX 615 370 0546
PMI - Aladdin - Stanley - www.pmi-worldwide.com
Aladdin and Stanley are registered trademarks of PMI. Property of PMI -
When replying, please include all previous correspondence.
Additional thought: Several brands of soft-sided or vinyl lunch kits (even those made in the US) have been shown to contain lead or other toxins. Many parents have opted to purchase safer and more eco-friendly options like canvas bags or handmade non-toxic bags such as those on ReuseableBags.com. Other options are to visit your local thrift shops, garage sales and/or FreeCycle groups to search for "vintage" metal lunch boxes made by Thermos...and sometimes, if you're lucky, maybe Aladdin. We have several at our house (made in the 80's & 90's) which were found at thrift stores for a dollar or two.