From cones to cup

When Renzo Giovanni Martini arrived in Brazil from Italy in the 1950s, he founded Marvi with a dream to introduce the Italian ice cream tradition to the Brazilian lifestyle. Having conquered the ice cream cone market in Latin America almost 70 years later, Marvi has now set its sights on a tasty and sustainable innovation: edible coffee cups.


Picturesque sandy beaches, pulsating samba rhythms dictating the pace of life, and a favorably mild climate all year round. The attributes that come to mind when thinking about Brazil certainly must have encouraged Renzo Giovanni Martini when he set up his production site near São Paulo in 1953. “My grandfather was a very determined man with a clear vision. At first, he produced and delivered the cones all by himself,” says Daniel Martini, co-owner and Industrial Director at Marvi. Over the course of seven decades, Renzo Giovanni Martini’s children and grandchildren have continuously developed the family-owned company into one of the biggest players in the Latin American food market. 

70 cones per second

Today, production is running like clockwork: Marvi’s almost 500 employees operate nine dough mixers, eight ovens for wafer stick production, and eight ovens for molded cones and cups as well as three ovens for cone production. In their 30,000m² facility, Marvi produces over 6 million cones each day, offering more than 700 different products to over 10,000 customers in Brazil. “In a 24/7 production environment, this results in almost 70 cones produced every second. One can imagine that such volumes require an incredibly high level of automatization and harnessing the power of digitalization,” Martini explains. 

The rapid growth of the company from a one-man-enterprise to a perfectly tuned, high-tech giant in food production is closely aligned with the technical progress in the consumer foods industry. “On the one hand, we’ve grown a little more as a company with every innovation that came to the market. On the other hand, we’re constantly asking ourselves how we can produce more safely, efficiently and sustainably. In the end, it comes down to the willingness to be open-minded for new technologies, implement them and continue to improve them,” says Martini. 

Daniel Martini, Co-owner and Industrial Director at Marvi Daniel Martini, Co-owner and Industrial Director at Marvi Daniel Martini, Co-owner and Industrial Director at Marvi

Revenue stream for rainy days

It’s hard to believe, yet even in Brazil it’s not always summer. When temperatures drop, so does the appetite for ice cream, which is why Marvi was looking for an additional revenue stream in autumn, winter and spring. Around six years ago, the idea to produce goods for coffee shops to promote the Marvi brand came to life and discussions started.

“Initially, Marvi planned to develop branded edible cups, so we were engaged in an almost two-year research and development phase. We had to adapt the ovens to the new product, develop a dough that would hold liquid long enough for consumers to enjoy their coffee, and find a way to engrave the company logo,” recalls Marco Piva, Sales Manager at Bühler Brazil. “We first started with a small oven, but after one year of continuous growth, Marvi bought a bigger oven just for producing edible wafer cups.” The big players in the Brazilian consumer foods market soon wanted a bite of these sustainable and tasty cups.


We produce edible wafer cups for Starbucks, McDonald’s, and local coffee shop chains. Together with Bühler, we have continued to improve the process and ingredients.

Daniel Martini, Co-owner and Industrial Director at Marvi


“Today we produce edible wafer cups for Starbucks, McDonald’s and local coffee shop chains like Kopenhagen,” Daniel Martini explains. “Together with Bühler, we continued to improve the process and ingredients, and we now produce using our own signature dough recipe. After the baking process, we add a special chocolate layer to contain the liquid – double pleasure with zero waste, if you will.” The sustainable and tasty cups have proven a hit in Latin America. Since production started, Marvi has sold more than 120,000 edible wafer cups, and the business forecast shows an upward trajectory. 

Marvi's edible coffee cups. (Copyright: Marvi) Marvi's edible coffee cups. (Copyright: Marvi) Marvi's edible coffee cups. (Copyright: Marvi)

A shared passion

Andreas Clemenz and his team of food  technologists in Leobendorf, Austria, is  testing dough for wafer cups. Andreas Clemenz and his team of food  technologists in Leobendorf, Austria, is  testing dough for wafer cups. Andreas Clemenz and his team of food technologists in Leobendorf, Austria, is testing dough for wafer cups.

Over 10,000 kilometers from São Paulo, Andreas Clemenz focuses on a new dough recipe in Bühler’s Wafer Application Lab in Leobendorf, Austria, where the scent of freshly baked wafer cups lingers. The food technologist and Department Head Application Technology, wearing a white lab coat and protective glasses, loves the science behind food processing. Together with his team of eight food technologists and three technicians, Clemenz focuses on creating the latest food sensations. His eyes fill with excitement when he talks about the research on edible wafer cups. “Think about it – 88 billion disposable cups are produced every year just to be thrown away, with an average lifetime of only 15 minutes. Reusable cups would need to be used between 20 to 100 times to become more sustainable than disposable cups, depending on the materials used. Not to mention the amount of water and soap needed to clean them,” he states. 

We offer process solutions that enable customers to produce cups that hold hot beverages for up to 45 minutes.

Andreas Clemenz, Department Head Application Technology at Bühler


“That’s why we’ve been working jointly with our customers on the creation of various types of edible cups for some years now, and today we offer process solutions that allow them to produce cups that hold various types of hot beverages for up to 45 minutes. The main ingredients are wheat flour, wheat bran, salt, sugar, and fat,” Clemenz explains. 

Wheat bran is a by-product of the dry milling process of wheat, adding not only side stream valorization and 100 percent biodegradability to the marketing pitch, but also helping to cut prices – the Achilles heel of edible cups in a highly competitive market that has been dominated by cheap plastic cups for decades. 


(Copyright: Marvi) (Copyright: Marvi) (Copyright: Marvi)

Adding indulgence into the mix

So what’s next for this tasty and sustainable revolution? Günther Sauerschnig, Head of Global Sales at Bühler’s Consumer Foods Business, is optimistic. “Sustainable consumption is more than just a trend. It’s a common mindset shared across continents and cultures, and now that we’ve added indulgence into the mix, we’re convinced that edible food and beverage containers will soon be the rule rather than the exception,” Sauerschnig explains.


Seemingly endless potential

It seems that not even the sky is the limit for edible food and beverage containers. Among many other big companies, Air New Zealand is currently trialing vanilla-flavored edible coffee cups to minimize the environmental impact of its 8 million coffees served each year. “The cups have been a big hit with the customers who have used these, and we’ve also been using the cups as dessert bowls,” says a spokesperson for the airline. 

Sauerschnig sees even bigger potential for edible containers for food and beverages. “What’s even more exciting is the many segments where the product can replace single-use plastics such as plates, cutlery, straws, packaging and so on,” he says. With companies like Marvi always on the lookout for new markets and taking the big players along the journey, one thing is certain: guilt-free, eco-friendly, and sustainable indulgence has all the ingredients to be a major force in the fight against single-use plastic.

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