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Edible Cutlery

An Indian startup has created edible silverware from a mix of rice, wheat and sorghum flour

Source: Bakeys, Eat Your Spoon

Bakeys' edible spoons made from rice, wheat and sorghum flour
Bakeys' edible spoons made from rice, wheat and sorghum flour

Bakeys, an Indian-based company that was launched back in 2010, has created the world's first line of edible cutlery. If not eaten, the cutlery is fully biodegradable within 3 to 5 days or it can be safely consumed by wild animals.This could serve as a delicious and eco-friendly alternative to the disposable plastic cutlery, about 40 billion of which are used and then thrown away every year in the United States alone.

The founder of the startup, Narayana Peesapaty, who is a former researcher from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), got the idea for creating edible cutlery from the Indian custom of picking food with flatbreads like khakra, a major part of the west-Indian Gujarati cuisine.

A round flat unleavened bread traditionally eaten in Gujarat, India
A round flat unleavened bread traditionally eaten in Gujarat, India

For the base of his edible cutlery dough, Peesapaty decided to use a mix of rice, wheat and sorghum flours, with the latter being the main ingredient due to plant's drought resistance. Millet crops like sorghum need approximately 4 liters of water for the production of one pound of grain, compared to 31 liters for the harvesting of the same amount of maize, which is one the most popular crops currently used for biodegradable materials.

Furthermore, the edible cutlery is made without preservatives, trans fats or dairy, making it suitable for a variety of dietary preferences. It also contains no moisture, extending the product's shelf life to as long as three years under the right conditions. Additionally, this makes the cutlery even sturdier and prevents sogginess, leaving it crispy for up to 10 minutes after immersion in liquid

The Bakeys team states that their product is also energy efficient, as 100 sorghum-based edible spoons could be produced with the same amount of energy required for the manufacturing of a single plastic utensil.

Inian Diplomacy/Twitter

The company currently offers edible spoons, chopsticks and forks in eight different flavors – Sugar, Ginger-Cinnamon, Ginger-Garlic, Cumin, Celery, Black Pepper, Mint-Ginger and Carrot-Beetroot – and are exploring the possibility of adding more flavors and tableware to their product range. 

The Bakeys team is currently selling 1.5 million spoons in India every year, however, interest from overseas has increased and at its present state the company cannot keep up with the demand. Thus, the startup has launched a crowdfunding campaign, which would allow the team to ramp up their production and make edible cutlery available worldwide at a price competitive enough to make it a feasible alternative to plastic disposables.

Edible forks, spoons and chopsticks
Edible forks, spoons and chopsticks
Edible Cutlery/Kickstarter

Monica is one of Eatglobe's staff writers and the whiz kid behind our social media strategy.

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