Who says you can’t have your cup and eat it too? The maker of those chicken-like products sworn to be “finger-lickin’ good” is testing a range of 100% edible containers for takeaway coffee. Fast food giant KFC will be testing its new coffee cups in Britain this summer. Called “Scoff-ee” (a wordplay meaning “to eat quickly”), the cups are a hybrid cookie/candy, a sure bet to trend big in the Middle East, where coffee is king and fast food consumption, colossal.
“Food futurologists” at the London-based Robin Collective are developing the cups. Co-founder and creative director Brandy Wright described the construction: printable sugar paper will wrap a cup-shaped cookie lined with a layer of heat-resistant white chocolate – the hot drink will slowly melt the chocolate lining while you sip the brew.
There are also plans to imbue some cups with specialty aromas. So skip that vanilla shot, and opt instead for scents such as coconut sun tan lotion, freshly cut grass and wild flowers.
Wright told The Telegraph, “These scents were used in our recipes as they have a natural ability to evoke the positive memories we associate with warm weather, sunshine and summer holidays.” No word yet on if or when these cups will be available at KFCs outside the U.K.
In concept, edible fast-food containers could appeal to consumers on several levels. Branding expert Tracey Riese told USA Today, “It could fit with any number of brand positions from ‘fast’; to ‘green’ to ‘fun’.” She sees the cups appealing to eco-minded Millennials, who want products and packaging technologies that are better for the environment.
Tasty, and eco-smart, as they will divert some single-use cups from the trash, but what about calories and nutritional value? The product announcement came this week but technical design details were scant. “The cups are still in the test and development stage under lock and key,” a KFC representative told Quartz.
America cooked up convenience food, which is now a staple daily of diets far beyond U.S. borders. Fast food isn’t exported is isolation – junk food comes with associated health problems. In Britain, where the Scoff-ee cups will be first released, 64% of adults are overweight or obese according to the BBC.
The Middle East boasts some of the fattest populations on the planet. It’s a hungry market for fast food, gobbling up Western fat-enablers such as “all-you-can-eat” restaurants and home delivery services.
The simple tradition of coffee drinking is an essential ingredient of Middle Eastern hospitality. Tricking it out with sugary candy/cookie cups and regional aromas (sheesha and cigarette smoke? fresh-baked pita? diesel fumes?) would be a sure-win marketing campaign for a new demographic.
Considering our region’s skyrocketing rates of diabetes and heart disease, we can only hope that a health-minded cleric calls a fatwa on this foolishness. Let’s pull Dame Julie Andrews out of retirement for an ironic Mary Poppins redux, this time singing, “A spoonful of sugar (and fat) makes the landfills go down”.