The Sweets and Swirls Café is sticking to its core values and experimenting with a new drinking straw alternative made from apples.
The café, located inside the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre, has always favoured reusable dishes, opting for washable plates and cups whenever possible, co-owner Erinn Lockard said.
The plastic-straw replacement is the best alternative that co-owner and husband James Cadeau said they have tried out so far.
The “Superstraw” sold by Planet Kitchen is made with wheat gluten and apple fibre, and closely resembles uncooked pasta.
Cadeau said he wasn’t sure of the cost yet but doesn’t think it would be prohibitive. A small box of the straws was provided for the café to test out, he said.
Right now, Planet Kitchen’s website sells a bulk package of 1,200 straws for $119, or about 10 cents each.
While that may be too steep for many bars and restaurants, Cadeau said because of the nature of the products they sell, they wouldn’t go through them too quickly. The apple straws would be a “good alternative” if they decide to stock them continually, he said.
In an effort to limit waste, the café already recently stopped offering plastic straws for beverages.
“We used up what we had and haven’t gotten any more,” Cadeau said.
“We noticed once we took the box of straws off the counter, people weren’t as inclined to take one,” Lockard added.
Cadeau said the use of straws seems to be more habit than anything else.
Now, the couple is gauging the opinions of their customers and determining if the apple straws will be feasible to stock full-time.
“It has the right mouth-feel,” Cadeau said. And the straws will last much longer than paper because when it does soften you can just “take a bite” off the top.