Group Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats and other incumbents, and you have over 100 million deliveries a month. That number is growing by the hour. What’s growing at about thrice the rate is the number of pieces of plastic food-delivery services use. Each order comes with at least a spoon, a pouch for the spoon, and the food container. It’s all plastic, and most of it will end up in landfills. We haven’t even started with packaged drinking water or the food-grade plastic utensils restaurants serve in.
Shaila Gurudutt has an answer. Eat them. You see, her serveware is edible with spinach in them. Plates, spoons, bowls and cups that Gurudutt makes under the brand name of Edible Pro are healthy meals. They are made of millets, wheat, pulses and spices, and can be customised with cocoa, spinach, beetroot, or carrots.
Gurudutt and fellow ex-IBMer Lakshmi Bheemachar started the company with a mission to save Mother Nature. Through their venture, they want to cut down the use of plastics in the food industry and increase the nutritional quotient in meals.
Gurudutt saw how plastic containers were detrimental to the food they contained. It’s no news that hot food leeches some of the toxic compounds from even the safest plastics. These compounds are infamous for disrupting our hormonal systems.
With the help of the Defence Food Research Laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Gurudutt created a mix for her eatable utensils. The mix is extruded through a set of be-spoke moulding machines and then baked. The company’s only plant, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, can produce 10,000 units of a given utensil in a day. Gurudutt is confident of doubling that quantity by running two shifts. The plan is to make the production process fully automated within a year.
Edible Pro already retails on Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket and TradeIndia. A pack of edible spoons (of 50 units) costs about Rs.500, while a pack of bowls is priced at Rs.1,200-1,500. The next step is to sell on Alibaba and expand internationally.
Besides profit from sales, Gurudutt wants to make a social impact with her products. Through her association with the DRDO, she wants to provide better nutrition to soldiers at the war-front. The defence body helped device the manufacturing process and product formulation. For that, it will receive an undisclosed royalty from Gajamukha Foods.
Gurudutt and team are also preparing fortified products for malnourished children. These products are likely to hit the market in the next couple of months. The fortified products will initially be distributed via CSR initiatives and then they may associate with the UNESCO and the Red Cross.
The firm is in talks with Zomato to supply this cutlery via the restaurant-discovery/food-delivery app. So, if you find an edible spoon in your delivery, you know where that came from.