Japan is home to a wealth of culinary and cultural traditions.
It is also a treasure trove of fruits and vegetables, and the produce grown here is of exceptionally high quality—safe, fresh, and delicious.
It occurred to me that if we could make writing and drawing materials from these fruits and vegetables,
giving new form to Japan’s traditions, this would appeal to people all over the world.
Crayons with the real colors of fruits and vegetables.
It was one thing to have such an idea, but how were we actually going to put it into practice?
Our development team wrestled with these questions day after day.
Could we make crayons out of wax and produce them like you would a candle?
Could this even be something that we could make ourselves?
We were determined to forge ahead with our dream of creating crayons from fruits and vegetables.
The big manufacturers weren’t interested in the idea, so we set out to develop our own unique product.
Fruit and vegetable colors. Safe and trustworthy. Made in Japan.
We started out by manufacturing some prototypes, testing samples with powders made from carrot, spinach, blueberry, pumpkin, bamboo charcoal, garlic, indigo, red pepper, gardenia, safflower and so on.
But we had a problem. They were terrible to draw with.
Hard and crumbly, the wax mixed with the vegetable powders and formed clumps that stuck to the paper. They certainly were not something with which you could enjoy the colors of fruits and vegetables.
We discovered just how hard it is to create a product that will live up to the high expectations of consumers. We realized that the powder granules were too coarse, and that we needed to make them finer.
We also decided to add tiny amounts of pigment to improve the color quality.
The granules in off-the-shelf vegetable powders were too coarse, and crayons made with them were extremely difficult to draw with.
After a number of attempts, we realized that we needed to make the granules a lot finer if we were to make crayons that were good to draw with. We also found that materials with a high sugar content such as fruits stuck to the manufacturing equipment, making it difficult to produce a sufficient quantity of pigment.
We made improvements to the production process, carefully selecting fruits and vegetables that would not stick to the machines, and sifting the material through a mesh to create an ultra-fine powder. We continued to improve the process to make the granules even finer, until eventually we developed a powder that worked.
What a waste!
In the process of learning how to turn fruit and vegetables into powders, we were dismayed to discover that here in Japan, fruit and vegetables that are slightly misshapen or don’t meet sales specifications are thrown away in huge volumes. Despite being perfectly good to eat, none of these fruits and vegetables will ever go on sale. We determined that we would try to use as many of them as we could to make our crayons.
Finding alternative uses for imperfect fruit and vegetables is not simply a cost-cutting measure. We see it as a small but important contribution towards the realization of a sustainable society.
Our crayons are distinctly lighter in color than the crayons you are probably accustomed to using. This is because we want to express the true, natural colors of fruit and vegetables in our products.
There are only three ingredients used in Vegetable Crayons: fruit and vegetables, rice wax, and pigments that are also used as food colorings. As a result, there will be no need to panic if your child should happen to put one of our crayons into their mouth.
Our products are certified as meeting European CE mark (European Conformity) standards, so you can be assured of their safety.
And while our crayons do contain vegetable powder, they are also coated in rice wax and will not rot, nor do you need to worry about using them before a “sell-by date.”
In Japan, as with other places around the world, everyone wants to keep their children safe, and we have found that as a result, many parents are purchasing our products.
Grandparents buy Vegetable Crayons for their grandchildren, and the crayons make popular gifts for newborn babies, or when children start school.
Vegetable Crayons—From Japan. For children all over the world.