The edible modelling dough
Do you have small children who like playing with modelling dough? Have you ever caught them trying to eat their creations afterwards? This happened to Stefan Kaczmarek a few years ago – and he decided to make sure that his kids would be safe, even if they decided to end the play session by eating up their newly created dough candies.
"My concerns as a parent drove me to find a safe and fun alternative to modelling dough for my kids to play with - Why stop there? I wanted everyone to have access to such a product".
Stefan Kaczmarek found out that although intended for children, some modelling dough contains chemicals such as formaldehyde, borax and parabens and they are not intended for eating. The dough is also very mould resistant and can stay fresh for years thanks to the preservatives and stabilisers used in its production. The full product information is not always visible on the labels and parents may not be aware of what they contain due to less strict labelling requirements for non-food products.
123 Nährmittel GmbH was set up in 2007 and they produce edible modelling dough for children with the aim of providing a safe alternative to regular modelling dough. Their modelling dough is sold as a food product with all its ingredients listed on the label.
A long road
"It has been quite a long and winding road to come up with this new product but it was worth it in the end - I could have never imagined how much demand there was for our product".
Starting from research in kindergartens about how children were playing and using modelling dough to perfecting a recipe for edible dough using starch and flour, 123 Nährmittel spent about 7 months researching for their alternative product. They were faced with challenges such as avoiding the rising behaviour of the dough in order to avoid stomach aches if children ate too much and preventing it from going bad by selling it in powder form and only adding water to it before using it to create the dough.
"Educating our customers was one of our biggest challenges. People tend to believe that everything with a CE label is automatically safe".
In a market where large companies have the biggest share, it can be challenging for smaller companies to introduce new products. However, the chemicals used in food imitating modelling dough ultimately bring in more profits for manufacturers, making them sometimes reluctant to switch to more expensive alternatives.
Stefan Kaczmarek wants to encourage other companies not to give up in the middle of the process.
"If you believe in your product, don't get discouraged. When challenges arise, trust that your consumers know what the better choice is."