Thinking outside the plastic cup will bring us so many better options for food storage. Why not serve our frozen yogurt, ice cream, fruit and drinks in an edible cup rather than one that will sit in landfills or end up floating in the ocean for the next 500 years?
The Edible Cup is Born
I love the idea of edible cups, straws, and silverware. Imagine how much waste we save when we create products that are not only compostable, but are also edible.
One of my favorite products in the Ocean Junkies Eco Boutique are the Sorbos Edible Straws because you get to enjoy your beverage through a very efficient straw, and then when you’re done sipping, you get to eat your delicious straw.
I recently sat down with the Jeannine Davison, owner of Amai The Edible Cup, to talk about her innovative new product that is hot off the presses and ready for sales here in the U.S. As we talked about this new concept and its contribution to a zero-waste society, we sipped our coffees in The Edible Cup and got to eat it when we were done with our coffee. It tastes like a cross between a digestive cookie and a waffle cone. Because I was so anxious to sink my teeth into the edible cup, I did so without considering that a best practice would be to eat the cup after the liquid is gone or spillage will ensue.
Amai is based out of Carlsbad, San Diego, and is the brainchild of husband and wife who used to work in the movie industry.
Ocean Junkies is proud to support and highlight local businesses that are contributing to a healthy, plastic-free environment.
The Amai Edible Cup is one-of-a-kind, made from oat bran and 100% all-natural ingredients. The cup is flaky and delicious, with only 56 calories. It will not leak for 12 hours while holding your hot or cold beverage of choice.
In this Q&A with Jeannine about The Edible Cup, we seek to find out the answers to all of your burning questions about this unique zero-waste concept. In speaking to Jeannine, we loved to hear her commitment to reduce plastic pollution and hear what she learned during the journey.
What was your inspiration for starting Amai The Edible Cup?
In 2015, my husband and I settled in Carlsbad to be closer to my aging parents. Having worked in the hustle of the entertainment industry for twenty-plus years, we were ready to get out of LA and focus on family, community, and starting a business of our own. We enrolled our son in a Waldorf school and met many like-minded parents who were passionate about sustainability, eating organic, polluting less, and creating a society that thought about the future of our shared planet. We also know several entrepreneurs who found unique ways to earn a living while doing good for the environment – from a green architect who converted his car to burn bio-fuel, to a marketer who helps others advertise their sustainable efforts.
After seeing others realize their dreams of business ownership in addition to making a real contribution to help preserve the environment, we felt this was a good time to embark on a similar venture of our own.
We began to look at the impact of wasteful packaging and the single-use mentality of many first-world countries. As we researched products and solutions, we discovered that eastern Europe was at the forefront of tackling some of these problems. One company in Poland has developed edible plates and flatware. Another was working on packaging created from kelp. During this time a friend had returned from Europe raving about an edible cup he saw in cafes that was heat resistant, vegan, and could stay crisp for an hour and hold liquid for twelve.
After a lot of digging, I found out the cup was invented by Cupffee in Bulgaria and had no presence in the U.S. so I reached out to them directly. We fast tracked the FDA approval process on their behalf and within just 6 weeks, we were I able to get import approval and secure distribution rights here in the U.S.!
Our hope is to continue expanding our product offering to included other solutions aimed at ending or significantly reducing the single-use mentality. Our ultimate goal would be to manufacture the cups right here in Carlsbad in partnership with Cupffee, which will further reduce the cost, time and energy used to import the product from Europe.
How do the edible cups work?
The edible cups are made from compressed oat bran, which allows them to stay crisp for up to 45 minutes with 185-degree liquid inside such as coffee. Once they start to lose their crispy textures, they will still hold liquid for a total of 12 hours before they start to leak and disintegrate. The cups do not have any glazing or coatings so they will not alter the taste of the contents.
They come with a sanitary paper sleeve that can be custom printed with food-safe ink. The sleeve is made from recycled paper and is also recyclable, but not edible like the cup.
The cups taste a lot like a plain waffle cone, only not as sweet. If you choose to eat it, you’ll only be taking on 56 calories. Should you throw it away, they biodegrade within a couple weeks. They are vegan, soy, nut, and dairy free, and made from all-natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives. The shelf life is 6 months.
Who Would you like to see using The Edible cup?
We’d like to see coffee shops, gelato shops, and restaurants who serve coffee use our cups instead of paper or plastic to go cups, or even ceramic cups that need to be washed and sanitized– requiring labor, time, energy, and water.
The Edible Cups can also be used for fruit, yogurt parfaits, or small desserts. Especially with Covid-19 and the restriction on allowing people to bring in refillable mugs, the use of paper products has skyrocketed. While our cup does not have a lid, we like the idea of encouraging people to stop and sip their coffee, even if just for a few moments at a table outside, like many Europeans do, as opposed to rushing off to drink it on the go. The current version of the cup holds 3.7 oz so it is meant for smaller coffee drinks such as an espresso or macchiato. A 7.5 oz version of the cup will be available this fall.
We also want to emphasize that in addition to the cup being eco-friendly, it truly is a food item – a nutritional digestive that tastes good and is kind of a nice, crunchy treat at the end of your drink.
We also hope that people who want to make an impact on the environment will consider buying the cups for home use. We are collaborating with on-line grocers that focus on hard to find, eco-friendly, vegan and/or healthy lifestyle products. We are excited that ocean-junkies.com will be carrying The Edible Cup.
Other areas for expansion include anyplace where collecting, storing, moving trash costs time and money – transportation (small charter airlines, boats, trains), theme parks (where the nutritional benefits to children on the go are an added bonus!).
Do you think edible products are the way of the future?
I think anything is possible if we put our minds to it. The idea of edible cups, plates, straws and flatware seems like a great solution in so many ways.
- Replacing single-use paper/plastic/styrofoam products seems like a no brainer. The biggest challenge is the cost because the aforementioned items are cheap and being eco-friendly isn’t always easy on the pocketbook. But eco-conscious companies are working hard to reduce production costs and, again, if there is actual nutritional value, then the item becomes part of the meal, not just a gimmicky thing where you COULD eat it, but maybe you wouldn’t really want to. And, even if we choose not to eat them, they could be used for animal feed or part of a yard composting system. Lots of exciting things to look into for the future of edible products for sure!
2. Replacing reusable items like earthen wear or metal products with edible items is still a questionable area. It’s hard to know if the cost and natural resources used to wash and sterilize these items is greater than the resources used to produce the edible products. An argument could be made that there’s a convenience factor that has to be considered when going on a picnic, to the beach, etc. where the single use item definitely has, and always will, have some real advantages.
Look for Amai Edible Cup on Ocean Junkies in the Eco Boutique soon!
As the mother of four children, including a set of triplets, it is important to me that my family all honor the earth, giving back and preserving the health of our oceans by making small changes in everyday life. Since beginning Ocean Junkies, my entire family has a new conscious awareness of using plastic straws and utensils in restaurants and how it’s related to the trash we see on the beach. It is my hope that through Ocean Junkies and other wonderful activist websites, we can raise awareness about plastic pollution and increase sustainable living by re-using what we have already created and creating from biodegradable and compostable materials.
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