Please introduce yourself: What does your start-up do?
We have developed Eatapple — the first edible and biodegradable drinking straw that tastes great and helps the environment. Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items to be found on the coast. Given their shape and size, they cause extraordinary harm to marine animals. After having been used for a couple of minutes, plastic straws remain in the oceans for hundreds of years. Our product contributes to solving a major ecological problem and can be used as a healthy snack.
How did you come up with an idea and concept? What inspired and motivated you to create this product?
Konstantin Neumann, one of the founders of wisefood, was sitting with his friends in a bar and discussing creative ideas for a competition. They were chewing on the straws of their drinks when the idea of an edible straw came up. Once it was developed at KIT (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie), Konstantin brought this innovative product to the market.
What is unique about your business idea and operating model?
Creating a straw that is not only plastic-free and 100% biodegradable but also edible is completely unique. Eatapple straws are made from the production remnants of apple juice which usually remain unused yet have an awesome fruity taste. We managed to combine flavour, health and sustainability benefits in one product.
What were the most significant difficulties you had to overcome while building your startup?
Since no one has ever created edible straws before, it was not so easy to find a suitable manufacturer who could produce Eatapple straws in substantial amounts. In addition, we were still working on a perfect consistency of the material as well as on the stability of the straw in a drink.
From the financial perspective, it was difficult to acquire our first customers because of the significantly higher price of Eatapple straws compared to plastic analogues.
Where do you see yourself and your company in 5 years?
In 5 years we want to replace several million plastic straws per month and become the number 1 contact for sustainable food solutions in Germany. We want to build bridges between people and sustainability and are strongly committed to social issues.
What are your expectations from the NX-FOOD programme?
NX-FOOD will be the first major market test for our initial variety of straws. We hope to get a lot of feedback and have a successful expansion with the help of NX-FOOD. Thanks to the wide reach of METRO Cash&Carry stores, we will be able to supply the gastronomy industry throughout Germany with sustainable and edible drinking straws.
What are your main milestones and achievements?
Successfully implementing the first edible straw, that tackles the worldwide plastic problem and yet is of great taste, makes us proud. We’ve come from the simple idea to produce straws people could eat after using them to a well-engineered product that customers enquire. Customers and industry professionals see and appreciate the benefits of Eatapple which brought us several innovation awards.
Additionally, we are proud to be a part of the EIT Food Programme which will give us an extra boost in the second half of 2018.
Konstantin Neumann: CEO/CTO & Co-Founder of wisefood GmbH
Danilo Jovicic: CFO & Co-Founder of wisefood GmbH
Philipp Silbernagel: CDO & Co-Founder of wisefood GmbH
Felix Adam: Product Development
Marina Selezneva: Social Media Manager & Sales
Maximilian Lemke: COO & Sales