From content to container. With Switch Eat, everything can be eaten, including the plate, cutlery or bowls. At the origin of this edible, compostable and biodegradable tableware project, created in January 2019 near Nantes, two great friends, Morgane Jarny and Thomas Launay, one passionate about sailing and the other kitesurfing.
“We wanted to offer a fun and playful alternative to disposable tableware, especially plastic,” explains Morgane Jarny. Their first straw product in icing sugar or apple fiber with a choice of strawberry, chocolate or lemon flavors is their best-seller. Switch Eat has since extended its range to bowls, plates or trays, made from spent beer or potato starch, and food cups and edible spoons made from vegetable fibres.
Switch to the individual
“Since the creation of Switch Eat, catering professionals (cafés, hotels, restaurants) as well as caterers have been our preferred target. But the Covid, which led to the closure of establishments and the ban on festive meetings, stopped everything. In 2020, we had to pivot very quickly, ”reports Morgane Jarny, president of Switch Eat. Not to mention the manufacturing concerns: subcontracted in Germany, Belgium and Spain, it runs out of the necessary renewable raw materials. This shortage leads to a total shutdown of production for several months.
In two months, from April 2020, the start-up is rolling out its BtoB merchant site to individuals by calling on freelance experts and revising its packaging to adapt to orders for reduced quantities. A total investment amounting to 20,000 euros.
Since December, the foodtech of three employees offers coffee cups in ice cream cones, intended for the service of gourmet coffees in restaurants. A way to actively reconnect with its portfolio of 650 professional customers in the CHR sector. From January 2019 to October 2020, the start-up is carrying out a turnover of 260,000 euros. She hopes to finish 2021 at 150,000 euros, for 20% from private customers and 80% from professionals.
Internalize, a priority
For 2022, Switch Eat is looking to boost its marketing. “By spring, we want to develop on the retail market, in culinary stores, delicatessens or concept stores”, details Morgane Jarny. The start-up has launched a fully-equipped picnic case that can be composted.
Switch Eat’s sales force is currently based on 4 to 5 independent agents. To hire a team of 5 sales representatives, the start-up must launch a fundraiser in 2022. “Our objective would be a contribution of 500,000 euros to strengthen us in the CHR market and develop the retail market. To penetrate this last segment, it will first be necessary to prospect the distributors of the retailers to appear on their catalogs, which represents a significant marketing effort”, anticipates Morgane Jarny.
To better control its production chain, Switch Eat is also working on a project to createproduction unit near its headquarters in the Nantes region. “We don’t yet know what type of agreements will be made with our current European subcontractors. Several avenues are being studied, such as franchise manufacturing,” relates Morgane Jarny. With all these developments, Switch Eat is aiming for a turnover in 2022 of 550,000 euros.