Jasberry rice creator Siam Organic serves up delicious gluten-free superfood pasta

02 May 2017   

Siam Organic wants to bring farmers out of poverty and transform their quality of life. Photo: Siam Organic

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.

Photo: Siam Organic

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.

Siam Organic alleviates farmer poverty in Thailand through innovative, globally-appealing nutritious organic rice products3:31

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

Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak, who founded Siam Organic in 2011, along with co-founder Pornthida “Palmmy” Wongphatharakul.

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.

Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak and Pornthida “Palmmy” Wongphatharakul founded Siam Organic to help farmers out of poverty through innovative organic products. Find out more about the enterprise at Photo: Siam Organic

‘No compromise’

Finding the balance between creating healthier products without compromising on taste has been a constant challenge. “What we have done is to find a balance between the two criteria and continuously testing the products with consumers to get feedback to keep improving the product,” says Neil.

It is a lot of trial and error but we believe that innovation comes from trying and making lots of mistakes, identifying those mistakes and constantly improving!

What’s next for Siam Organic? The team wants to further scale their operations, as well as add more key team members. It also aims to work with 20,000 farmers by 2019. “We hope that within the next 12 months our products will be on the shelves of some of the world's leading supermarkets,” adds Neil.