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We're Eating Up Incredible Eats Plays' Edible Cutlery

by Chloe Gordon on 01/20/2022 | 5 Minute Read

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Incredible’s goals with creating an edible cutlery line were to spark curiosity and fun in consumers; to fundamentally take away the fear and confusion around making a sustainable choice. The founder, Dinesh Tadepalli, was inspired to start the business when he received one too many plastic spoons when getting ice cream with his family. He began to think about the impact these spoons were having on our planet, our oceans, and how this would affect the lives of his children as they grew up. Dinesh knew he had to make a difference: he sold his home and put everything he had into creating edible cutlery. 

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight. Incredible Eats’ is taking aim at the disposable and greenwashed “compostable” cutlery space by creating an edible alternative to a traditional plastic spoon. 

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Incredible Eats came to Little Fox in early 2021 wanting a refresh of their visual identity and packaging in order to appeal to more consumers, become shelf-ready, and make a strong impression on their upcoming Shark Tank appearance. The goal was simple: create something sustainable, beautiful, and playful. Something that would spark curiosity and encourage people to pick the item up off the shelf to see a little closer–an edible spoon?! Incredible Eat’s name was born from Dinesh introducing the spoons to people and discussing how you could eat them–the most common response? That’s incrEDIBLE! 

Something that was very clear from the initial brief was that the spoons had to fight for presence against compostable options: packaging design for industrial compostable currently revolves around a “classic” 90s approach to greenwashed design: lots of use of the colour green, leaves, and trees. Compostable cutlery is a bit of misnomer as it cannot compost naturally on its own, and has to be composted in a specialized facility at a high temperature for a certain length of time. These facilities are few and far between, and when the “compostable” spoons are littered, they are nearly identical to traditional plastic. Only sun, water, and time will break them down into microplastics. Incredible had to both fight the false image that compostable cutlery was a sustainable option, while encouraging people to pay a bit more for their edible alternative. When Incredible’s spoons are “improperly” disposed of, or not eaten, they will naturally break down just like any other food product in the environment, leaving behind only natural compost without even a trace of microplastics. 

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The design for Incredible Eats’ rebrand and packaging design was considered and evaluated for sustainability from the ground up to ensure that not just the product but that design and physical carton were causing as minimal an impact on the planet as possible. It is the hope that sustainability can be made fun and exciting; something that breaks down barriers and is accessible to everyone, no matter what age. Incredible Eats is changing the world one spoon at a time. 

Sustainable packaging design for us, also extends to a careful evaluation of the materials being used to create the primary and secondary packaging for each SKU. Incredible Eats’ products are packaged in a FSC and Rainforest Alliance certified paper carton. While FSC is not the gold standard of sustainable packaging, when 100% recycled cartons were explored, they didn’t have the durability to withstand shipping and transit for the product, so unfortunately, it was not a viable alternative for the product. 

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Incredible Eats’ cutlery line which consists currently of large and small spoons, and sporks, is being marketed towards B2B businesses as well as B2C initiatives for festivals, airlines, cruise ships, and other industries where a single-use option is both necessary and expected. To align with both targets, Little Fox took a bold approach to the packaging: the primary brand colours would be blue and orange. The colour green was only used on one flavour SKU for the packaging (Oregano-Chili). This way, the brand was sure to stand out against green/brown aesthetics, and also compete with the bright, party-focused aesthetics of some plastic cutlery brands if placed in that shelving section of stores. The whimsically colour- blocked packaging was entirely geared to catch your eye in the store; to inspire an impulsive purchase for the fun of it. Staying away from accusatory marketing tactics or marketing copy, Incredible Eats wants to empower individuals to make sustainability fun; to use edible cutlery for parties, to entertain children with, and to make a sustainable choice approachable to those who don’t know where to start. 

Incredible Eats also offsets what mandatory plastic is required for their product. International shipping regulations and compliance requires the shipping cartons the cutlery is contained in to be covered in plastic to prevent moisture entering the boxes. Each spoon is also individually wrapped for freshness inside a paper laminate wrapper; this means there is a layer of plastic adhered to the wrapper that is 2 microns thin. This paper laminate layer is safe for paper-recycling in municipal systems and is required to create a moisture barrier around the product. This plastic footprint has been over-offset in order to ensure their footprint is accurately offset, as carbon-offsets can be unreliable and inaccurate. To meet this goal, 200% of their carbon emissions and plastic footprints have been offset respectively through Impact Collective. Incredible Eats is also actively looking into alternatives and plastic-free options for the laminate layer. 

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