The social enterprise hits new innovation milestone while helping poor farmers
A new type of gluten-free pasta that contains superfoods like acai berry, spirulina and chia and tastes like original Italian pasta will be hitting the shelves at supermarkets in the United States later this year.
“It is a completely new product in the global market,” says Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak, founder of social enterprise Siam Organic. The business’ unique formulation of adding superfoods into the pasta stands out from existing gluten-free pasta, which is usually made from beans, rice or quinoa.
This has been among Siam Organic’s biggest innovations since winning SGD 75,000 in seed funding in the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge (SVCA) last year.
The goal was simple: to make superfood a convenient part of the everyday diet and make gluten-free pasta taste just like original Italian pasta.
The outcome: Pasta options such as Goji Berry x Turmeric, Acai Berry x Jasberry Rice, Chia x Quinoa and Spirulina x Moringa x Matcha Green Tea.
The pasta is set to be offered in supermarkets in the United States, as well as in the European Union, Australia and New Zealand by the end of this year. Siam Organic will then look to launch the pasta in Singapore and Hong Kong early next year.
This is the enterprise’s next product after its popular organic Jasberry rice, sold in Thailand and the US. The dark purple rice, developed through natural cross-breeding, is touted to have 10 times more antioxidants than green tea and 2.8 times more antioxidants than blueberries, while tasting like the famous Thai Jasmine rice. The 100% wholegrain rice also claims to have the highest levels of anthocyanin, vitamin E and beta-carotene, compared to other varieties of rice in the market.
Helping farmers out of poverty
When producing innovative organic superfood products like these, Siam Organic works with poor farmers in northeastern Thailand, with the ultimate aim of bringing them out of poverty and transforming their quality of life.
Since winning DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia in 2016, Siam Organic has been able to increase the number of farmers we work with by 80% (to over 1,800 farmers) as well as launching a new organic product in several international markets
Achieving success in the international market will offer a market-driven solution to helping farmers out of poverty in a sustainable, scalable and irreversible manner, he says.
Siam Organic helps farmers in Thailand – among the poorest in the world with a net income of 40 US cents a day – by providing them with various forms of support such as Jasberry seeds, organic fertilisers, training, micro-financing and paying them a premium price for all output. Farmers get paid up to 200% more for Jasberry rice harvests compared to conventional commodity rice.
With higher earnings, lowered costs and increased yields, farmers get up to 14 times’ higher income than growing regular rice. They also keep a portion of the Jasberry rice for personal consumption and sell the rest. Farmers who have eaten the rice report improved health.