For a decade from now, I have personally evangelized environmental conservation. Thanks to my volunteering gig in some organizations. Recently, I came across this person, Shashank Gupta, and his erstwhile startup- Nom. Shashank as a founder embarks on a journey to eliminate plastic straws with Nom.
How? Read the edited excerpts below.
Please throw some light on the journey of Nom so far and where it all began.
Nom was established in Sep 2018 and right now we are a team of 6 people with more r&d centric focus. Nom is an innovative sustainable edible solutions company that aims to substitute single-use disposables with green, sustainable, and eco-friendly solutions with edibility on top of that. Under our 1st solution vertical i.e, Eatables, we have developed world’s 1st ever flavored edible drinking straws, flavored edible ice cream sticks, flavored edible ice cream cups and spoons, and tetra pack straws.
Made from natural ingredients and FSSAI, ISO:22000, and FDA(pending) certified, our solution aims at changing user’s behavior of use and throw by building sustainable products with drop-dead taste on top of it.
What’s the goal you’re trying to achieve with Nom?
Zero waste society is our SDG(sustainable development goal) with this solution. We are building a solution that takes away the need for throwing things away since it’s a tasty edible product with functionality in it.
Plastic straws are hazardous as conservationist claim and we all agree with the same. But why is it a menace in your terms?
Plastic straws take forever to degrade and are a menace to the environment. Other options such as PLA require composting facility and paper straws don’t stand in the liquid. A sustainable option such as bamboo straws is a cleaning hazard. On the other hand, our solution is ready to eat product as a bakery item thus wouldn’t require any composting facility if thrown and is 100% biodegradable.
Please give some insights on manufacturing edible straws and the raw materials that go in.
Our edible straws are baked and ready to eat straws and come in 6 flavors (Vanilla, Strawberry, Lemon, Mint, Chocolate, and Coffee). Currently, we have the capacity to make around 100,000 straws a day. We use the most basic ingredients such as rice flour, wheat flour, refined oil, salt, sugar, and a few more secret ingredients to make our edible solutions.
Talking about the financials, how are you planning to price it and you’ve begun manufacturing already?
We are primarily innovative food solutions thus our one straw can cost from Rs. 5 to 7 depending upon the flavor and size. We have a few export contracts and few domestic POs which run in a couple of million dollars. Our production was to start on 31st March 2020 but things have gotten delayed due to COVID-19.
What are you planning to do beyond edible straws in the near future?
Apart from drinking straws, we have solutions such as edible coffee stirrers, edible cocktail stirrers, and edible tetra pack straws. We are also working on a very innovative healthy edible straws for kids.
Edible straws are quite a new concept to this world. Well, if this existed elsewhere in the world? We may not know. Yet, a sustainable innovation from an Indian startup is quite an achievement. The real challenge awaits the team now i.e. identifying the right audience. Also, convincing others on the need to be sustainable. While we get answers for the same, know some Biotech Startups in India fighting COVID-19.