India File

A meal with a nutritious spoon?

KV Kurmanath | Updated on August 14, 2018 Published on August 14, 2018

Health scoop Edible millet spoons being made at Bakeys KVS Giri   -  K.V.S. GIRI

At the age of 42, in 2006, Narayana Peesapaty had a typical middle-class individual’s dilemma. — whether to stick to a well-paying job or explore the uncharted entrepreneurial terrain. Though it was a tough call, he didn’t take much time to decide.

He quit his job to start work on a project that bothered, and is still bothering, him — efficient use of water in agriculture.

A water researcher at an international organisation when he quit his job, Peesapaty looks visibly disturbed over the way paddy guzzles water.

“You know what, paddy once used to be a rich man’s diet, while the poor and low middle-class would depend on the nutrient-rich millets,” he says.

“Millets were the staple food for the poor till a few subsidy rice schemes in the 1980s and 90s changed it all. While millets are grown with less water, paddy requires huge quantities of water. And, as the paddy area goes up, so does the consumption of water in agriculture,” he says.

“If this continues for long, all cities in the country will become Cape Towns (acute water shortage put the South African city in a difficult situation early this year),” he says.

He also found that ‘disposable’ plastic spoons are not really being disposed. “They are being used and reused repeatedly after collecting them from the bins at several function halls and eateries,” Peesapaty, Founder and Managing Director of Bakeys, says.

Peesapaty found a common thread between the two issues.

This actually formed the basis of his experiments with edible cutlery, leading to the establishment of Bakeys in 2010.

Jowar fed the spark

“On a business trip, I found hardened jowar rotis in my breakfast pack. I realised what can be done with them to replace plastic spoons with those made of millets. It means a lot to the environment in the long run. When we consume more millets, we are consuming less water for agriculture,” he asserts. “Then it struck me, how about making edible cutlery using millets that can be consumed too at the end of the meal,” he relates. Each edible spoon costs ₹3 a piece.

Then began his learning and unlearning about ‘baking a spoon’ using jowar flour. “I knew nothing about baking. I went to bakeries, saw how they work and began to experiment on the moulds. I started off with clay, before using the jowar,” he says.

After years of efforts at product development and educating the market, Peesapaty feels the time has now come for take-off. “A video we made about two years ago went viral the world over. We are getting enquiries from over 130 countries,” he says.

Automated production

Busy taking calls from the bakery where an automated, spoon-making machine is being installed, Peesapaty seems ready to meet the demand.

“It can produce 50,000 spoons a day. It’s beginning production shortly. We have sold about 30 lakh spoons so far,” he says.

Bakeys began in 2010 and its first automated facility was installed in 2016. The start-up raised ₹25 lakh in crowd funding. “Our limitation was production capacity. Now that we have an automated machine, we can produce more, meeting the demand,” he says.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on August 14, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor