The straw is also “rolled in”? Bamboo, rice, glass, coffee grounds, stainless steel, celery… they are also straws

Hello everyone, and welcome to the draft of "The Straws Have You 2021".

I am your old friend "environmental protection". This year's straw competition was unprecedentedly fierce. Before the game, the popular plastic was exploded because of a lot of black material, and the original seeded player Zhizhi was also rejected by fans because of the car accident scene. Due to these two emergencies, the straw draft competition, which had its own pattern, became confusing again. Players such as bamboo fiber, rice, glass, etc., who had not been paid attention to before, have all become champion candidates.

Who can get the champion of this year's competition? Please follow me with "Environmental Protection" to take a look at the preparations of the contestants.

Straw 2021: paper, PLA, bamboo fiber, glass, stainless steel, rice…

When we are going to start discussing environmental protection, we are going to start discussing paper straws.

After all, although there are many things related to environmental protection, but as small as a paper straw, there are not many things that attract people so much attention. There is no other reason. The "crimes" of the paper straws of the star contestants in the straws are really exhausted.

▲ The “one size fits all'' pilot does not provide straws after McDonald's paper straws are spit out

In terms of taste, the existence of paper straws makes people completely lose the joy of biting straws. It turned out that it can still be used after a bite, but now it softens with a bite and cannot absorb more and more new tea ingredients. From the experience of use, it has too much influence on the taste of the drink, and it will have a pulpy smell over time. Since the paper straws, everyone has really fallen in love with the plastic straws that "the best love is not to disturb".

What's even more outrageous is that everyone has endured the degradation of the experience for environmental protection, and the paper straws are not so environmentally friendly as a result. The paper straws that McDonald’s once launched caused a wailing. Among the many complaints, McDonald’s had to thicken the straws and then thicken them. After being thickened, the paper materials that were originally recyclable were difficult to be recycled by garbage disposal companies.

I made sacrifices, but paper straws are not so environmentally friendly, so why should I use paper straws that are difficult to use?

▲ The difficulty of the paper straw has no bottom line, it may even be integrated with tea

Under this circumstance, those brands that steadfastly used paper straws were voluntarily resisted by users. In the discussion boom of paper straws, more and more brands have changed their straws to PLA straws. PLA polylactic acid straws are truly environmentally friendly straws, which can be decomposed by organisms, even if they are incinerated, they will not produce harmful substances to the human body.

The best part is that for consumers, PLA straws are very similar to plastic straws, and they are environmentally friendly while also taking into account the experience. Of course, the PLA straw is not without its shortcomings. It is not conducive to long-term storage. Long-term storage will cause the straw to become brittle, and it does not support hot drinks, which puts forward higher requirements for the process management of the entire supply chain.

But in general, the PLA straw is a straw product that combines environmental protection and user experience. Therefore, Starbucks has launched a straw made of PLA and coffee grounds as raw materials in more than 850 stores in Shanghai since last month, which is both distinctive and environmentally friendly.

▲ Starbucks “dregs tube'' is a biodegradable straw made of coffee grounds and PLA

But in general, the environmental protection of these straws is "limited". Shuangtong straws is a brand that has been making straws for 27 years. Li Erqiao, who is in charge of the Shuangtong straws section, said to Ai Faner that "the best environmental protection is to use less disposable straws", because no matter what kind of environmentally friendly straws, upstream A certain amount of pollution will be generated in the production industry chain.

Twin children's glass straws and stainless steel straws are non-disposable straws. Although they are not disposable products, they can be kept clean and hygienic under the cleaning of the matching brush + disinfection, but this is not very popular in the domestic consumer market. Shuangtong's glass straws and stainless steel straws are generally sold to cup manufacturers as a set, and only have a certain degree of recognition in foreign consumer markets.

▲ Twin children's stainless steel straws

For Shanghai Yifengyuan Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd., which started as an environmentally friendly tableware, straws originally only accounted for a small part of their business. But today, when the outside world pays more and more attention to straws, they have also decided to spend more effort to promote bamboo fiber straws. Similar fiber straws will use different raw materials such as sugar cane fiber, coffee fiber, bamboo fiber, etc., so that the straw made will be more stable.

A bamboo straw with a similar name to bamboo fiber will cost more, because its raw material is bamboo, which needs to be formed into a straw shape by hot pressing. Therefore, high-cost bamboo straws are not suitable for single-use straws. However, due to the characteristics of bamboo, bamboo straws are also a straw with a limited number of times of use. If a certain frequency is exceeded, the use experience will be drastically reduced.

▲ Bamboo fiber straw. Picture from: YOLLY

Yifengyuan Company also introduced us a straw that looks environmentally friendly, but is actually more harmful to the environment than plastic-cornstarch straws.

The material of corn starch is only in line with the current environmental protection policy, but it cannot be completely degraded. It is still a plastic in nature, but its plastic particles will be relatively small, but there will still be some indecomposable particles. These particles are smaller and more difficult to decompose, and the subsequent collection and processing will be very troublesome.

There are also Korean rice straws that sound environmentally friendly, but the straws that use rice flour and tapioca flour are really environmentally friendly, but they are still relatively rare in China. Li Erqiao said that rice straws are facing a standard problem. China's national standard still lags behind the specification of this new material. It needs to be approved by the Health Commission before it can be put into mass production.

▲ Korean rice straws can be used directly as rice noodles and fried

Dazzling new straws, a supply chain that has risen higher than housing prices

If you are interested, you can actually make original plant stem straws at home. The production process is very simple. You only need to choose natural plant materials such as lotus leaf stems and celery stalks. You can even use green onions and cut off the ends of the head and tail to make it. Natural environmental protection and degradable plant stem straw.

There are so many materials for the straw, but it is not difficult for the merchant to choose, because the cost is there.

An employee of a straw manufacturer revealed to Ai Faner that most businesses choose paper straws for a reason under the environmental protection wave, because their cost is much lower than other environmentally friendly straws. The price of a plastic straw is less than 0.04 yuan, and the price of a paper straw is more than double that of a plastic straw. You may not be able to buy one at 0.09 yuan. The cost of PLA straws commonly used in modern tea drinks is about four times that of plastic straws. It’s about 0.15 yuan per piece, and the cost of a more natural fiber straw has even risen to 0.2 yuan per piece.

▲ The cost of PLA biodegradable environmentally friendly straws is very high

Li Erqiao of Shuangtong confirmed this statement. He said that the price of paper straws is 2 to 3 times that of plastic straws. PLA straws are more expensive than plastic straws. The most expensive ones are glass straws and stainless steel straws.

A large part of the business of the two straw companies we interviewed is overseas, and the factors affecting China's domestic and overseas straw orders are also very different. Under the wave of environmental protection, overseas markets are forcing the market to choose more environmentally friendly straws, and the domestic market will have more policy influence factors.

Yifengyuan said that the sales of environmentally friendly straws and the promotion of plastic restrictions are directly linked. Most of their customers are concentrated in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In areas where plastic restrictions are not implemented and regulated, few brands will actively choose environmentally friendly straws. After Hainan launched a strict "plastic ban" last year, their company's orders in Hainan have also increased a lot.

▲ The sales of environmental protection straws have a lot to do with market supervision. Picture from: China Economic Herald

The twin children felt the same way. At the time of the most stringent market supervision, many of their customers replaced their straws with PLA environmentally friendly straws, but this year they quietly switched back to plastic straws. As long as the market is not strictly regulated, brand merchants will naturally choose the lowest cost method. However, there are exceptions.

In those areas that receive the most attention, even if the regulatory authorities do not care, the brand will be determined to use environmentally friendly straws. This is the case in the new tea drink market. After the topic of environmental protection has slightly reduced, and paper straws have been complained about, many brands have also chosen PLA straws or plant fiber straws. One of Shuangtong's customers, "Auntie Hushang", is still using PLA straws. This may also be one of the signs of the "involution" of the new tea market.

▲ NetEase Wenchuang has done a straw evaluation. Picture from: Haohao Life Office

However, the cost of new straws is so high, and the rising cost of raw materials is also one of the reasons. Li Erqiao said that if the material cost of PLA straws can fall back to the level of two years ago, the price difference between PLA straws and plastic straws will not be so big.

Its original price may have risen from more than 10,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan per ton, and suddenly rose to nearly 40,000, which is equivalent to doubling. Under this circumstance, the price of its products has also increased substantially, which is a great challenge for market promotion.

So far, this cost price has not been trending down for the time being.

▲ The rising raw material of PLA straws pushes up the cost. Picture from: Marketing Line 4

"Small" objects with straws, attracting "big" effects

Today, straws are no longer just straws. In addition to sucking things, people expect them to see the values ​​and choices represented by the straws. In the most competitive market, changing the packaging and launching a new product can create a lot of growth. Choosing a new straw can also trigger a lot of discussion.

It can even be said that the many concerns caused by paper straws have made it impossible for a highly competitive market such as Xinchao to go back to embrace plastic straws.

Luckin has won the hearts of many users again because it has won the first place in the evaluation of different paper straws.

After the straw straw invented by Japanese college students entered the beverage store, it even attracted many people to check in for the straw.

▲ HAYAMI straw straw

In the period when the paper straws were the most fiercely complained by users, Heycha, the first to replace the PLA straws, also ushered in a group of customers who checked in in order to experience the new straws.

When small objects such as straws are also eye-catching enough, brands will also help them consolidate their brand image and gain outside attention by replacing them with new straws. As far as the new tea drinks are currently being introduced into new tricks, I will not be surprised to introduce tea fiber, vegetable and fruit fiber straws in the future.

After all, as long as your innovation is new enough, consumers will have enough motivation to check in.

Not too interesting, not too optimistic.

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