Japan’s favorite convenience store for ice cream may have just invented the best way to eat it.

Going out to eat ice cream is one of those things in life that’s supposed to be a moment of pure joy. That good mood can be kind of spoiled, though, if you’re someone with both a sweet tooth and an eco-conscious mind who’s been given a plastic spoon to eat your ice cream with.

Wooden spoons are the more environmentally friendly utensil, but they present a different problem. They taste pretty gross if you happen to lick the material while trying to get every last bit of cream, and what’s the point of eating ice cream if it’s not going to taste good?

Faced with the dilemma of bad-for-the-planet plastic spoons and bad-for-your-taste buds wooden ones, it might seem like a no-win situation. Here with a solution that’s awesome in three different ways, though, is Japanese convenience store chain Ministop, who’s created an edible spoon.

Ministop introduced the edible spoons in spring of last year at select branches as part of a pilot test. The response was extremely positive, with over 90 percent of the 400 surveyed customers saying they thought the new utensils were good. Wanting to make them even better, though, Ministop took customer feedback into account, adjusting the shape and length of the edible spoon to make it even easier to eat with, and now the chain is ready to start supplying the edible spoon at all of its branches nationwide.

The most obvious benefit of the edible spoon is the reduced plastic waste, coupled with reduced carbon emissions from not needing to manufacture so many spoons in the first place. Customers also get a little more to snack on, since the spoon is, essentially, a wafer, and should taste pretty good with the accumulated ice cream that seeps into it as you eat. And last, not having a spoon left over when you’re done eating means less trash that you have to carry around with you until you can find one of Japan’s few-and-far between trash cans.

To really help the edible spoon make a splash, Ministop is rolling it out at the same time as a new ice flavor, Nagano Purple, based on the purple grapes grown in the mountainous prefecture of the same name.

Plastic spoons won’t be disappearing from Ministops entirely, though. Certain frozen treats that are served in extra-tall cups will still be served with plastic spoons, and the chain also advises customers with wheat or soy allergies to ask for a plastic spoon, as those ingredients are present in the edible ones. Still, the introduction of the edible spoon is a big step, especially since Ministop is widely considered to have the best-tasting ice cream among sweets fans in Japan.

The edible spoons are scheduled to start showing up in Ministop branches on June 9, and to be available at all branches no later than June 16.

Source: Ministop via Newscast via Hachima Kiko
Images: Ministop
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