In a world in which single-use plastic is becoming increasingly frowned upon, disposable plastic cutlery and crockery could soon be relegated to the past.
Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has derailed the efforts of environmentalists and green lovers to reduce plastic waste.
According to a study by six alumni students from the National University of Singapore’s Master of Science, Singaporeans generated an extra 1,334 tonnes of plastic waste during the two-month circuit breaker.
This is equivalent to the weight of 92 double-decker buses, and was largely due to the surge in takeaway and delivery meals.
30-year-old Anna Lam acknowledged that plastic waste is a burgeoning problem.
Besides trying to minimise her own consumption, she took one step further to create an edible cutlery startup. Called Crunch Cutlery, it manufactures and sells edible cutlery fortified with nutrition.
Sustainable, Superfood Spoons
During her interview with Vulcan Post, Anna was quick to acknowledge that the concept of edible cutlery has actually been around for years.
However, the “issue with edible spoons has always been execution”, said Anna.
Years ago, she signed up as a Kickstarter Funder for Bakeys — another edible spoon project — but never received the product.
When the circuit breaker happened, she found herself stuck at home with all her travel plans cancelled.
That, coupled with her passion for sustainability, led her to experiment with various recipes to create her first version of the Crunch spoon.
Even though she managed to secure some buyers, she realised that the repurchase rate was low, and the main challenge was creating a spoon that people actually wanted to eat.
After several iterations, the Singapore Management University (SMU) graduate “stumbled upon” the superfood angle.
Anna and her co-founder Sean Neo have recently released a seven-flavour range, which features more “fun and healthy” flavours.
Some of the flavours include ‘Butterfly Pea Lychee’, ‘Gluten-Free Buckwheat’ and ‘Beetroot Wholewheat’.
These flavours are suitable for both millennials and people who are serious about keeping to a healthy diet.
We want to make it valuable for the customer (to eat our spoons). So far, we haven’t found another brand who has the same value proposition.
We make it worth your time to consume our cutlery — giving consumers their nutritional needs within the spoon.Anna Lam, Co-founder of Crunch Cutlery in an interview with Vulcan Post
Innovation In Every Bite
Since its founding in August this year, Crunch Cutlery has begun distributing its spoons to two stores, and is in the process of onboarding another three by the end of the year.
According to Anna, the startup has also gotten a lot of support from various institutions.
For example, it is incubated under the SMU Business Innovations Generator Programme, and the Singapore University of Social Sciences Mentorship Programme.
It has also signed a contract with A*STAR to develop more forms of cutlery, and continue research and development on how to further fortify its current products.
It’s still a new idea in Singapore too, even though the concept has been around for years. What we do is we have the advantage of looking at the progress of other companies, and see what makes us differentAnna Lam, Co-founder of Crunch Cutlery in an interview with Vulcan Post
Anna has also moved from baking in her kitchen at home to a co-sharing baking facility at The Muffinery.
Besides expanding into other types of cutlery, Anna is also hoping to bring Crunch Cutlery abroad in the next 18 months.
On a larger scale, Anna also hopes that Crunch Cutlery can be the “connection between customers taking their first step to be environmentally friendly and incorporating more sustainable practices into their lives.”
She hopes to see Crunch Cutlery widely available as an environmentally friendly option in cafes and dessert kiosks in the year to come.
While Anna started Crunch Cutlery while juggling a full-time job, she is in the midst of leaving the corporate world.
She told Vulcan Post that while it took her a lot of courage to leave her cushy full-time job behind, the “overwhelming support” from partners, customers and mentors have helped to spur her decisions.
Pre-Covid, there were a lot of distractors in Singapore and I had a very traditionally-fulfilled life. This is probably the opportunity of your lifetime to think about what truly gives you satisfaction.
Realising the corporate world wasn’t for me took a lot of courage, but I am pursuing something worthwhile enough to find fulfilment in life.Anna Lam, Co-founder of Crunch Cutlery in an interview with Vulcan Post
Featured Image Credit: Crunch Cutlery