What They Do:
Sofra offer bio-based and biodegradable disposable tableware products based on food processing wastes. Sofra’s products are rigid, resistant to heat, and waterproof. The material they developed does not bend, a competitive advantage compared to disposable plastic and paper tableware, which tend to bend when used to serve heavier foods and liquids. Sofra use 100% natural ingredients and their production process has low energy consumption.
“We decided to work on this project to alleviate both plastic pollution and the problem of excess food waste that is both being detrimental to the environment, human health, and wildlife.
Stakeholders who are mainly benefitting are the food processing industries that have the burden of having to deal with the waste they produce. Moreover, disposable tableware distributors and our potential clients will also be benefitting, as we will be offering them a biodegradable and sustainable alternative to single-use products at less expensive prices.
This is important to make sustainable and affordable solutions more widely available for clients who want to turn eco-friendly. The strength and uniqueness of Sofra are that it is recovering and recycling food waste into a novel and performant biomaterial.
We applied to the GIMED program to get the business support we need to turn this project into a successful business. Sofra was born in the laboratories of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut as my (Rayanne) thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Mohamad G. Abiad (co-founder of Sofra). We were hoping to achieve the development of a green and successful business model for our research project that had the potential to solve an important problem.
So far, we have finalized our research and development phase and tested the mechanical, sorption, migration, and thermal properties of our material. Our key success factors are the promising prototypes we achieved. Our material turned out to have many more potential applications according to its thermal and mechanical properties and we are now exploring the possibility of using it in construction.
We’ve finally been able to set up a manufacturing facility and market our product. As soon as we see that customers are considering our products for their use, we would know that we have succeeded and are replacing unsustainable materials with ours.
We’re looking to register our intellectual property and to develop an investment-ready green business plan to launch Sofra by the end of the program. We cannot wait to start making a positive impact towards a more sustainable production and consumption.”
Berytech is the official partner of The Green Impact MED Project – Positive Investments for Positive Impacts (GIMED), an EU-funded project under the ENI-CBC Med Programme aiming at supporting green entrepreneurs to better access finance and market in the Mediterranean. The project provides training, coaching sessions, capacity building workshops, and sub-grants to consolidate green business creation and green business development. Learn more about the GIMED Project.
- Duration: 46 months
- Start date: 01 September 2019 – End date: 31 August 2023
- Total budget: 2.633.106,29 €
- EU contribution: 2.369.106,29€ (90% co-financing to project)
- Main source of funding: European Union (ENI CBC Med Programme)