Sustainable Design with Coconut Soil


by Proflora

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Water the Sachets!

solution Owners

Posted by Das - Last updated on 09-03-2015

Water the product sachets directly to fill the pot with soil and bury the seeds without even touching the soil. The coconut fiber dust may be used to make the paper sachets. Whole of the product goes from the shelf into the soil.

Product Design Proposal for Coconut Soil

Product Inclusions
What should the product system include?

A product unit consists of:

  1. Seeds
  2. Top soil granulates
  3. Base soil granulates

One product unit consists of enough coco-soil and nutrients to support one plant. The unit does not consist of Proflora’s biodegradable pot since the gardening needs vary from case to case. Users have their own requirements of area to be covered: a single pot, several pots, a line of plants on the balcony (no pots), a garden or a whole farm. Depending on the area to be covered they buy corresponding number of product units.

Product Packaging
How should it be packaged?

Thanks to Proflora’s compression technology, the quantity of the granulates and seeds needed to prepare a pot is very less and therefore, can be packaged in sachets. This would save space and make it easy to transport. A product unit is packaged in two sachets.

Sachet 1: It consists of seeds and top soil granulates. These granulates form the soil that surrounds the seeds. If it is in a pot, top 25% of soil is formed by these granulates.
Sachet 2: It consists of base soil granulates which form the rest of the soil away from the roots. 

Reason for having a two-sachet model:

  1. If we mix the seeds with granulates in one sachet model, it would cause us to lose control over the level of soil in which the seeds are planted. They may even go to the bottom of the pot. We know that seeds should be planted in the top soil for better chances of sprouting.
  2. Clubbing only the top soil granulates along with seeds gives us the opportunity to selectively enrich the nutrients in the top soil to assist early growth, keeping the nutrient level in the rest of the soil same or even lesser than before.
  3. The manufacturing of any product becomes more complicated if there are different varieties of the product to be made. This is the case with coco-soil production since there is customisation depending on the type of seed. We can reduce the complication by reducing the volume of material which is customised. It is suggested that only Sachet 1 contents should be customised depending on the type of seed. Sachet 2 should be kept the same for all types to reduce type wise production and movement of material by at least 60%. This would increase efficiency and save costs.

The packaging is made of paper as it is a sustainable material. Also, the paper is made from coconut fiber dust, the same material that is used for coco-soil production. 

Product Use
How is it used?

Following are the steps for using the product:

  1. To make one pot, take any empty container like used milk can, PET bottle or Proflora’s biodegradable pot.
  2. Place Sachet 2 at the bottom of the pot and water it. The sachet made of paper gets wet which allows the expanding granulates to tear it open and cover two-thirds of the pot with coco-soil. The sachet becomes a part of the soil.
  3. Place Sachet 1 on the newly formed surface and water it. This causes the granulates to expand, tear open the sachet and cover the whole pot with soil, burying the seeds in the process. 

The process is shown below:

The product allows the user to garden in large areas too. Sachet 2 (base soil granulates) is available in different volumes based on the application. Following is an example of planting an array of seeds:

Advantages of the process:

  1. The user’s hands do not become dirty in the process. It is a very convenient way of handling soil for gardening­.
  2. Whenever we think about sustainability, we think of a gradual process which takes time to complete the cycle and is not visible immediately. The process described above lets the user see the sachet become a part of the soil immediately. It makes an instantaneous statement of being sustainable.
  3. Paper cannot be considered biodegradable always. It depends on the method of its disposal. It degrades only if it goes back into the soil and not in the landfills. This process ensures that the paper used for the sachet goes into the soil.

Product Distribution
Where should it be distributed?

  1. Supermarkets
  2. DIY shops
  3. Home improvement shops
  4. Plant nursuries
  5. Botanical gardens
  6. Public parks
  7. Flower shows

Product Publicity
How should it be marketed and communicated?

  1. The most important value proposition of the product is the ease of purchasing and using it. Currently the customer has the hassle of collecting soil, enriching it with nutrients and getting seeds. These activities are time consuming and need some level of skill. The main claim during the product’s marketing should be the convenience that it offers to the customers
  2. Sustainability of the product is also another USP. The product packaging should clearly enlist the impacts that the user is making by choosing this product.
    The process of using the product (described above) would leave a lasting, visual impression on the user. To see the sachet disintegrate and become part of the soil in a matter of seconds is an effective way of demonstrating the sustainability of the product. This would help in publicity of the product by word of mouth.
  3. To appeal to a broader market, the product’s wide usability needs to be demonstrated. It should be made clear that it can serve customer types ranging from a casual gardener to a professional urban gardener.
  4. It would help if there can be clinical studies conducted regarding the effectiveness of the coco-soil in comparison with the regular soil. If the success rate is higher and the quality of plants is better, the results will act as good marketing tool. It can enable us to claim better results during advertising.
  5. Proflora has been in business of coconut fiber dust products for a long time. This means that it has a list of customers already. To promote this new product, Proflora should leverage the existing distribution channels and customer relationships.
  6. The sachet comes with a sticker which is transferred by the user on to the container holding the newly formed coco-soil. This sticker (with a logo or a symbol) can become an identity of plants using coco-soil. 

Benefit to the Society
How are the communities working on the product benefitted?

The Proflora workers can be engaged in the making of paper that is used for the sachets. The printing and packaging too can be done manually at low cost. Paper making is a simple process which is generally done by cottage industries without any need of heavy machines.

Name suggestions

'Biogro' is a general name. It would be better if the product name is also related to coconut.

  1. "Biogro Narikela": Sanskrit is the oldest language of the South Asian region which produces most amount of coconuts. 'Narikela' is the Sanskrit word for coconut.  
  2. "Biogro Cocosera": The scientific name of coconut is Cocos nucifera, which can be combined to form the word 'Cocosera'. 

Business Model Canvas

Value Propositions

  1. A sustainable and eco-friendly source of soil for gardening needs        4         
  2. Customised nutrients depending on type of seed                                     3
  3. Easy handling due to compact product and packaging                            1
  4. Easy and clean process of use                                                                     2
  5. Wide variety of applications                                                                            5

Customer Segments

Retail Customers:

  1. Homemakers
  2. Senior citizens (retired)
  3. Real estate developers and builders
  4. Horticulturists
  5. Florists
  6. Farmers
  7. City Corporations
  8. Plant nurseries
  9. Corporates

Wholesale Customers:

  1. Supermarkets
  2. Home improvement shops
  3. DIY shops

Note: What’s the customer trying to get done? Gardening, reduce CO2 emissions
Is it a problem/need? Yes, Gardening can be a hassle. Peat moss harvesting needs to stop
It is a functional solution and satisfies an emotional need to protect the environment
Benefits expected by customers: Ease of gardening
Customer measures success by the successful growth of the plants.


  1. Advertisements
  2. Trade shows
  3. Physical stores
  4. Website
  5. Free shipping

Customer Relationships

  1. Call and email support
  2. Social networking websites
  3. Newsletter

Revenue Streams

  1. Direct product sale of sachets
  2. Sale of gardening accessories like biodegradable pots
  3. Government subsidies

Key Resources

  1. Coconut fiber dust (raw material)
  2. Production facility
  3. Human resource
  4. Intellectual property
  5. Capital

Key Activities

  1. R&D
  2. Production
  3. Distribution
  4. Marketing and Advertisement
  5. After sales support

Key Partners

  1. Suppliers of coconut fiber dust
  2. Advertising agency
  3. Distributors
  4. Courier company
  5. Banks

Cost Structure

  1. Raw material costs
  2. Operating costs
  3. Financing costs
  4. Sales and distribution costs
  5. Advertising costs
  6. R&D costs


  1. Cradle to Cradle Design Concept
  2. Book ‘Business Model Generation’ by  Alexander Osterwalder

Solution file in PDF Format:
Water the Sachets!.pdf


  1. Ursula A Ursula A

    Dear Das, thank you for your great solution. We concluded the challenge and are currently in the evaluation phase. Winners will be announced soon. Best regards Ursula Tischner for the innonatives Team

  2. Das Das

    Hi Ursula, Thank you for your prompt response :)