What went into making a spoon that can be eaten - Narayana Peesapaty shares

Posted on 1 October, 2015 by Team Wishberry

Bakeys Edible SpoonsGiven the consistent onslaught on environment that industrialization and pollution have brought about, it won’t be surprising to someday find that plastic has crawled into our diet as well. In spite of knowing what adverse health effects use of low-grade plastic bottles, food containers and disposable cutlery can have on human health, very little has been done to fix the issue. A researcher decided to change that by making cutlery healthy and…. edible. We got in touch with Narayana Peesapaty, the founder of Bakey’s to learn everything that goes into making this genius cutlery. Read on.   Spoons that can be eaten- it’s such a simple yet fascinating idea. How did the idea hit you? Narayana: Let me begin with a quote, the source of which I couldn’t trace, “Change is inevitable. Before this change can overtake and overwhelm us, we should be the instruments of change.” The idea struck me while I spotted a few people use khakra to pick food served on a flight. Later, I was familiarised with rotis made by Sorghum (Jowar) which are really hard and tough in texture, I had to soak them in dal for a while till it turned softer in order to consume. This pushed me to work on an organic spoon made of food, as an alternative to plastic spoons. Bakeys Edible Spoons   You worked on this product to disprove the fact that environmental safeguarding and social responsibility rarely integrate with business. What motivated you to pursue this? Narayana: I started this with a triple bottom objective; 1. to encourage farmers to grow jowar, instead of rice as growing rice requires 500 times more water and power 2. Conserving and replenishing ground water by promoting jowar cultivation in semi arid regions where it’s not very feasible to grow cash crops 3. Conserving energy by not pumping more bore wells to fetch water for the cultivation of rice. Besides, I was keen on using Jowar for the spoon as it is a great source of fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium and energy. It also helps maintain blood sugar levels. Also, as we’re now into plastic age and we unknowingly consume unimaginable levels of it, I wanted to educate people of its carcinogenic, neurotoxin properties and how it only leaves heap of garbage after use.   When did the process of making edible cutlery begin? How did you go about it- from idea to research to conception? Narayana: It took me 2 months to try 10 different combinations of flours in various percentages to get the best dough mix tough enough to work as a spoon. As I still had a full time job, the process took a few months, but I was not very happy with the shape of the spoon and hence continued figuring out different ways of improving its quality. That’s when I decided to turn this into a business and get the dye cast and moulds built. Bakeys edible spoons made of jowar   What has been the most challenging part of putting this venture together? Narayana: Getting funding to start this business, and leaving my very well paying job was the biggest challenge I faced. But this had already turned into a passion and I wanted it to happen, so much so that I was eating, sleeping and dreaming spoons! I took difficult decisions- sold my house in order to source funds, as banks weren’t helping. There were several technical problems, delays and mistakes, leading to unimaginable losses. With no mentor or an advisor, I designed the whole system of manufacturing machines with my gut instinct. The system has been evolving over the years, from manual to semi automatic and soon it will be fully automatic. Narayana Peesaty at the Sunday Market with Bakey's Edible cutlery   How do you plan to scale the business? Also, how do you plan to market the cutlery to a wider audience? Narayana: When I successfully managed to manufacture the first set of spoons, thanks to the Discovery Channel I had wide media coverage; I received inquiries from many countries. But at that time my capacity of production was manual which resulted in about 500-800 spoons a day. Hence, there wasn’t a big scale of sales. Now we produce around 7000 spoons a day but the curiosity has died out, so we visit Sunday organic markets to generate sales. Also, due to lack of marketing, the product is still considered as new and will take time to be accepted. To widen our business, we have created prototypes of soup spoons, dessert spoons, chopsticks and sporks. Once we get investment for the dye and moulds with production lines for each of these shapes, we can start producing these too, as the demand for them is high in foreign countries. Various prototypes of Bakey's Edible cutlery

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