The Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) yesterday said it was planning to increase its production of bento lunch boxes to 50,000 per day.
The bento box is one of the popular food products offered by the TRA. On a daily basis, passengers line up at the TRA’s bento box stores at Taipei Main Station as soon as the boxes become available.
Several high-speed rail passengers even buy bento boxes first before boarding their train.
Statistics from the TRA show that the number of bento boxes sold daily has grown from 14,000 in 2010 to 16,000 in 2011 and 20,500 last year.
The TRA said it expects lunch box sales to continue to grow this year.
About 33,000 bento boxes were sold on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year holiday alone.
Since the Taiwan Lantern Festival began at the end of last month, the bento boxes at the TRA’s Hsinchu and Liuchia stations have flown off the shelves as soon as they are placed for sale between 4pm and 5pm.
The TRA estimated that the growth in bento box sales would exceed 30 percent this year.
To meet the potential increase in demand, the administration said that it is remodeling its kitchen, which is scheduled to become operational by the end of next year.
The TRA said the new kitchen would be able to produce up to 50,000 bento boxes per day once the remodeling is complete.
TRA boxes are currently available on express trains and at train stations. The TRA is considering working with private contractors to expands retail sales.