Sourcing Bamboo for Everyday Food Products
Bamboo is a part of life in the tribal regions of northeast India. These tribes originated in different parts of Southeast Asia, and their constant westward migration led to the present where we have more than 145 known tribes with different languages and traditions living in an area equal to the size of New York State.
What can bamboo do for our health today?
For most processed foods, silica is used in the form of silicon dioxide, where it is a synthetic chemical with a defined safety limit. It is also used as an anti-caking agent and is a common ingredient in dietary supplements.
Anand Swaroop, Zenfuel’s co-founder and formulator, researched the possibility of using organic silica from the inner back of bamboo as a potential replacement for silicon dioxide. After extensive work, Anand found a process to produce 70% organic silica from bamboo, with 30% from plant fibers (in the form of lignans) in the final product.
After completing a long-term stability study, Anand and his team are ready to use bamboo in Zenfuel’s dietary supplements. Zenfuel has also partnered with a leading food ingredient company to develop the organic silica for food processing.
While it is exciting to find a replacement for synthetic silicon dioxide, bamboo is not unlimited as it is sourced from plants, unlike its readily available chemical alternative. Sourcing bamboo includes growing and cutting an enormous number of plants to make organic silica.
There is also an issue in properly disposing of waste that generates during the production cycle when bamboo is formed into a pulp.
Thus, Zenfuel has repurposed bamboo to mix it with fly ash to make bricks for the villages from which it is sourced. This reuse of bamboo leftover from the production process both cuts down on waste and creates an environmentally friendly product for the villages.