MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – THE SUPERGANIC COMPANY
For the sustainability-conscious consumer, takeout meals are often accompanied by feelings of guilt. As takeaways become a normal part of our lives, their environmental impact – particularly the packaging – is becoming harder to ignore. Resolving this dilemma is what fuels Janvi Kapur, The Superganic Co’s passionate and determined founder.
For Janvi, sustainability is a balance between meeting our current needs without compromising our future. This means providing solutions that don’t disrupt today’s flow of resources — which is what Janvi is doing through The Superganic Co.
Founded in 2017, The Superganic Co was born when Janvi noticed Hong Kong’s over-reliance on plastic. “When going to a bar or restaurant, I saw drinks being served with plastic or paper straws. We all know that single-use plastic is extremely damaging to the environment, and Hong Kong uses it way too much. Yet paper straws are no better! They get soggy halfway through the drink and need to be replaced – creating more waste and added cost”.
The Superganic Co aims to close the production loop. Unlike plastic, which is produced and then thrown away, The Superganic Co’s products adopt a circular economy model, giving raw materials that would otherwise be wasted a second life. One such material is sugarcane bagasse, a by-product of the sugarcane industry. By using this material in sauce cups, food containers, straws and more, The Superganic Co provides a non-toxic and biodegradable packaging alternative. In addition to being beautifully designed, functional and sturdy, the products are also very hygienic and (of course) eco-friendly.
SWEET AND SOUR
One challenge that Janvi has encountered is pricing, which holds some businesses back from transitioning away from plastic to plant-based packaging. “The products don’t bring direct profit to businesses so they choose to avoid the extra cost. Yet what they don’t see is the cost to the environment!” Janvi observes that stand-alone restaurants or smaller businesses tend to be more hesitant about making the shift. Plastic containers have become the go-to, so Janvi and The Superganic Co team must show businesses how the functionality of their products matches and often trumps traditional packaging.
To reach businesses who have yet to come on board, Janvi attends meetings herself, showcasing The Superganic Co’s products and handing out samples for them to try out. “We want to be able to offer our products at a more competitive price; we don’t want them to be luxury items, because sustainability shouldn’t be a luxury item— it’s an essential item.”
Moreover, the products speak for themselves. Despite the challenge of price points, The Superganic Co still boasts a loyal customer base that, as Janvi proudly notes, can vouch for their products. “We are known for our sturdy quality and customer service… all our new clients have come through word of mouth, organically”.
BIGGER FISH TO FRY
Janvi observes that sustainable packaging is currently a pick-and-choose battle. “Customers will choose sustainable cutlery or straws, but maybe not sustainable boxes. We see a lot of people making the switch, but not across all products”. To counter this, Janvi stresses the importance of education. “Customers nowadays are aware of the harms of plastic. I personally have a lot of friends who refuse to use plastic straws. When businesses meet clients like them, they want to make the shift from plastic to sustainable packaging, because they see that their customers want that shift too”. Since the company started in 2017, Janvi has noticed a steady evolution with ever more players entering the industry. “I think there’s a lot more knowledge out there and people are much more open now about making the switch.”
Nonetheless, the journey ahead is long. While Janvi acknowledges that policies are already in place– charging 50 cents for a plastic bag, for example, forces customers to think twice–she feels that much more can be done. “I think there should definitely be a ban on single-use plastics.” Composting waste in Hong Kong is another area “that needs to be pushed.”
2023 AND BEYOND
A missing piece from the jigsaw is what should customers do with The Superganic Co’s products after using them. To address this, the company has an exciting new initiative in the pipeline: creating collection points where clients can drop off their used products to be sent to a composting facility – the final step in closing the loop and completing the circular model.
As 2023 nears, The Superganic Co is looking to expand its reach. Currently in the process of opening a branch in India, it’s also exploring the Dubai market. “We want to take it beyond the Hong Kong market. Why? Because sustainability isn’t just a Hong Kong issue; it’s a world issue”
If you make sustainable products suitable for the food service industry please get in touch with us about Future Green Membership and let’s explore how we can make sustainability the new norm!
Interested in more?
6 steps to turning messy ideas into concrete next steps with The British Chamber of Commerce3rd November
From Healthy Kids Menu to Asian-Inspired Delights: SpiceBox Organics Revamps Catering Services, Championing Sustainability and Clean Eating in Hong Kong12th October