Diners at KFC restaurants throughout Britain soon will be able to have their coffee - and eat the cup, too.
KFC, one of the chains operated by Yum Brands, is going to test an edible cup made from a wafer coated in sugar paper and lined with a heat-resistant white chocolate. The new cup will debut about the same time as KFC restaurants plan to introduce Seattle's Best Coffee, part of Starbucks.
"We have been experimenting with edible packaging to see if it could be a feasible product to bring to market in limited quantities," Jocelyn Bynoe, brand manager for Yum's international operations, said in a statement.
The new cup addresses several of the trends bedeviling the food business today, including consumer concerns about the environmental impact of packaging, as well as their desire for simplicity.
"This type of edible packaging is definitely aligned with the global consumer mindset in terms of sustainability and simplifying their life," said Shilpa Rosenberry, senior director of global consumer strategy at Daymon Worldwide, a consulting firm that works with many food companies.
Yogurt businesses and coffee restaurants are seeking ways to reduce the footprint their packaging leaves, and more restaurants and food-service operations are using recyclable materials in their carryout businesses.
Rosenberry said she had even seen examples of retail packaging that could be turned into furniture, and boxes that could be repurposed for practical uses. "Millennials in particular want to make sure an innovation is functional, works and is right for their lives," she said.
Other companies have been offering similar items. Lavazza, the Italian coffee brand, had edible cookie cups, while Coolhaus sells its ice cream sandwiches in potato starch wrappers printed with inks made from vegetables. In New York, Dominique Ansel Bakery offers a chocolate-chip shot, with organic milk poured into a cookie cup.
The new Scoff-ee Cup to be used at KFC, first reported by USA Today, was made in partnership with the Robin Collective, which calls itself a "purveyor of curious events and experimental food."
The chocolate lining will melt and soften the crisp wafer in the same way that a biscotti softens when dipped in coffee. "Not only do the edible cups taste amazing, but they smell delicious, too," Brandy Wright, a designer at Robin Collective, said in a statement.
The cups have been dosed with ambient aromas, including "Coconut Sun Cream," "Freshly Cut Grass" and "Wild Flowers." Wright said they were designed to evoke memories of warm weather, sun and summer holidays - "things that make everyone smile."
© 2015 New York Times News Service