Stop panicking and start inventing!
This week I explore the amazing journey and philosophy of IncrEDIBLE who are transforming our attitude to disposable cutlery
Never have environmental concerns felt quite so urgent as right now
With so many worries it is easy to feel like nothing can be done to halt climate change or our unsustainable way of life. Luckily not everyone throws up their hands in despair and I was privileged to interview an inspirational creator of a solution we all need to buy into. I am delighted to share the conversation that demonstrates that creativity can make a massive difference.
New-born babies are powerful motivators
The birth of a child can completely transform how parents see life. This was certainly the case for Dinesh Tadepalli of IncrEDIBLE – edible spoon creators. I asked him just how this impacted his thinking.
What was your lightbulb moment?
‘I am a hiker and I love walking. I have a great appreciation of nature, but I guess having a child made me reappraise my attitude to the world. When the kids arrived, I decided to undertake some financial planning. It seemed like a smart idea and then I suddenly thought, ‘what’s the point of planning financially if the world is going to be in such a poor state? It was a real lightbulb moment.’
I knew there was something I could do
Photo Amina El Shazly
‘At the time I decided to switch my planning and find a way to do something that would benefit the planet as a whole. This, I felt, was the best way to support my children and those of every other parent across the globe. That’s when I started to work on the idea that has now become IncrEDIBLE Spoons!’
Keep an eye on the future from the very beginning
‘I am an engineer by profession, and I started wondering what the best alternative to plastic cutlery might possibly be. Within a short time, I had joined forces with a business partner to start manufacturing edible spoons. We understood from the very beginning that scaling was our key concern and that everything we did had to be carbon neutral as far as possible. What was the point otherwise?’
How did you finance your dream?
‘That’s when some tough decisions needed to be made. I sold my house in the U.S and invested the cash into the business and having got our machine we manufactured our very first set of spoons. We were here to help save the planet for the future and there isn’t a more important or motivating reason for working hard to pull this off.’
Yes, edible cutlery did exist, but it was often home-made, and scaling was a nightmare
‘That was something we were mindful of right from the start and we took care of pretty quickly and were astonished when our first order landed. This was for 150000 units. We were relieved to have done so much early planning; you can imagine.’
We made the decision, from the get-go, to produce vegan spoons
‘Our philosophy is to make use of non gm whole grains such as wheat, oats, brown rice and chickpeas. We also source from local farmers and flour millers in India. However, we haven’t stopped there. As there is quite a lot of freight created by shipping from our production facilities in India, we wanted to become carbon neutral and reduce our footprint. So, we have a tree planting policy and also upcycle all factory waste which we feed to stray animals and livestock for people earning less than $4 per day. It is important to us as a company to do as much as we possibly can in every way to protect the planet.’
After this first order enthused us, we knew we had developed a product that people wanted
‘Following this shot of market confidence I went off to a number of food shows and actually won many awards. Ice cream chains were extremely interested in this product as you might imagine. At the beginning of 2020 we went into negotiations with a premium A list ice cream brand but Covid has stalled progress for the moment, but we will pick up shortly for sure.’
We are born out of the customers’ and planet’s needs
'In fact, Covid has been an interesting factor for IncrEDIBLE. We had been focusing B2B before the pandemic but interestingly people have been thinking far more about the planet and our place within it. People began to ask us when we were going to offer our products B2C. We know that 88% of consumers are demanding that brands help them make a difference. Therefore, we are born out of the customers’ and planet’s needs. What more motivation do you need?’
Therefore, we started to list on Amazon and Covid, ironically has helped business growth indirectly and now we are projecting that we will do well in both spheres. Right now, we are beginning trials in Switzerland, Belgium and France and also working on edible straws and sporks which is also very exciting.
How hard is setting up a new company?
Well, pretty tough to be sure but I cope. I am still doing my job full time and work 9-5 on that. However, I then work 7-2am on IncrEDIBLE Spoons and all the money I earn goes into the business. We all work very hard and are pleased that we have received so much support from the Plastic Coalition.
As 2020 ends and we start a new year we will be looking to crowd source
We will also be looking for more environmental investors that want to make a social impact, especially within Europe. We already have celebrities and influencers coming forward to lend their support to the cause. We are also on the campaign trail to find even more customers in the UK.
We know we are really onto something
Taking the environmental concerns aside it’s fun to eat cutlery and even those who don’t care about pollution can become involved and also do their bit for the planet. If you can inadvertently reduce plastic waste, then that has to be a good thing.
If you want to know more, are looking to invest or contribute then you can contact us right here or you can buy from amazon in the U.S. https://incrediblespoon.com/ Or contact Andrew Crumpton, IncrEDIBLE's UK distributor: firstname.lastname@example.org