Adi Pollack - Edible Tableware
A developer of a range of tableware made from edible materials - A tasty, fun venture, with an environmental & social agenda
Sometimes there are ventures that enter your heart as soon as you become acquainted with them, such as the venture of Adi Polak, an entrepreneur and developer of innovative food products. 36 years old, single mother of Ari.
What is your background?
I became an entrepreneur about 3.5 years ago after a very painful layoff. I realized that my employment opportunities are limited and do not justify my abilities and skills. So I decided to publish the entrepreneurship that burned in me for many years.
How did you come up with the idea of edible dishes?
Ever since I can remember I had an affinity/attraction for sustainability, culinary and innovation.
In 2013, as part of a final project, in graphic design, I chose to brand a unique cafe for breakfast cereals. During the many months of planning. I felt something was missing, and then came up with the gimmick idea of making an edible bowl of breakfast cereal, that would be resistant enough to milk and various toppings in it.
I fell in love with the project and even started in the execution stages of the cafe. Unfortunately, I stopped the project due to a personal-severe crisis I went through.
In 2017, the Plastic Bags Law was passed in Israel. The subject caught my attention. I learned in-depth about the enormous damage that the use of plastic products causes to nature. Over 300 million tons of plastic are thrown away every year. Half of them are disposable plastic products.
Therefore, I conducted an independent study, to try and understand the attitudes of people to the issue of sustainability/preservation of the environment and how they use disposable plastic products.
I realized that the issue of sustainability is simply - boring, oppressive, preachy, and the disposable plastic products are, however, colorful and suitable for any occasion and celebration.
The bottom line was that there is no connection between sustainability and fun.
Therefore, I wanted to produce fun products that are easy to connect to, that are suitable for the event industry, that will replace the use of disposable plastic.
My edible bowls (the IncrediBowl) from 2013 fit into my agenda - sustainability with fun
And that's basically what I’m creating since then - edible tableware and serving dishes. They are delicious, beautiful, colorful, and healthy, which match the spirit of our period.
Tell me about the edible Chaser cups? What is special about them?
Oh I love the cups so much!. They are called StarCup.
The idea came to me during a friend’s wedding. We all drank chasers in test tubes or small plastic cups and, alongside that, were served gummy candies. So I thought to myself - is it possible to make cups of gummy candy...
The cups are made of a unique rubber mixture, similar to gummy candies, which allows them to be alcohol and high acidity resistant. On the other hand, they melt in your mouth and are less chewy than regular gummy candies.
The cups are great with various alcoholic beverages, desserts and even entrees (ceviche and small salads).
They come in a wide range of flavors and colors: strawberry, passion fruit, vanilla cola, coconut, and more.
There is also a StarCupP+ - more upgraded line: pineapple + sumac, Bloody Marie (spicy. Not sweet at all), soy + radish (suitable for ceviche for example), eggplant and more.
They contain less sugar than regular gummy candies and even glow in the dark!
What challenges do you encounter along the way?
The biggest difficulty was developing the product on my own. I made over 272 tests (this is what happens when you have no experience in food engineering 😊) and finally I came to the perfect result.
I tried to make the cups vegan. I invested a lot of resources and still could not achieve a satisfactory result.
Also, there was a tremendous difficulty in explaining what an edible dish is. Many have wondered why it is necessary to eat the plate, the cup, or the bowl.
What were the reactions to your product?
All kinds of possible responses...
Starting with admiration and tremendous enthusiasm.
Lack of faith that the glasses can be eaten. To many they looked like plastic and they did not believe that they could be eaten
Some were even very frightened to taste it...
Tell me about the concept of the colorful Pitas
Herzl's JOY Pita - both colorful and natural pitas. They have the normal taste of pita but have added values.
The colors are derived from only natural sources: vegetables, fruits, spices and superfoods, as well as rescued vegetables.
The Added values are:
The use of natural sources for colors instead of artificial colors.
The use of rescued vegetables - some of the revenues will be donated to the ‘Food Rescue’ Organization
Promote an agenda of reducing food waste
I volunteer at the ‘Food Rescue' organization. Three times a week, we collect, in the wholesale market in Jerusalem, vegetables and fruits that are not sold due to distortion in their shape (but not in their taste). And so provide hundreds of respectable food baskets to poor populations throughout Jerusalem.
Some of the colors I produce from beets and carrots, that without my use would have been thrown away at the end of the day,
This is how I benefit from what can be considered waste.
In the future, another line of pitas, with special flavors (sweet/spicy) and from different flours, will come out.
How did you come up with the idea?
I thought about it more than two years ago, while I had to explain what an edible dish is.
I explained that it is just like eating ice cream in a cup or meat in a pita, and then I realized that Pita is actually an edible dish.
I tried to think of how I could make a pita with a twist, so it will be easier for me to explain what an edible dish is.
I thought of a colorful pita. I did some tests but had to move the project aside because the Chaser cups became a hit.
The Corona crisis brought me back to the lab in my kitchen….
How has the corona affected your business?
Unfortunately, the corona smashed my business. Already in March last year, all the events and festivals I was supposed to take part in were canceled.
I was scheduled to travel in September to an Israeli delegation to Denmark, which was of course canceled.
So I had to close the business.
I have been back in business only recently with the sales of the pitas, which luckily are becoming a huge success.
What are your plans for the future?
Return to full activity with the Chaser StarCups, when the events industry returns to normal.
Continue to promote the pitas.
And there's more to look forward to because I have over 20 different developments for edible dishes and weird inventions. All in the spirit of fun, and doing good to society and the environment.
My message is: try to do good! It is important to make a living and succeed but also to try to make a positive change in the world. Even if it's something small especially in these challenging times.
Who would you be happy to collaborate with, in Israel or abroad?
Eyal Shani. I’m curious to know what he’ll think of the pitas
Collaborations with gluten substitute manufacturers. I would very much like to produce a colorful gluten-free pita (a particularly challenging task)
Restaurants. Airlines. Hotels. Open to any offer.