29 Aug Fighting The Food Waste Through Innovation: This Packaging Can Be Eaten or Dissolved
One third of the food produced in the world ends up in the trash. According to FAO, the waste of 1.3 billion tons of aliments per year is not only causing major economic losses but also wrecking significant harm on natural resources, as explained in the following videos by the United Nations. Food waste represents one of the major innovation challenges for the food industry, but also, a business opportunity. During the past few years, some projects and initiatives are trying to address this issue, especially from the point of view of food packaging. Here are some of these projects and initiatives.
Different companies and startups are introducing to the food industry the concept of a sustainable type of packaging which is not only biodegradable but edible. That is the case of the Loliware cups. As the creators say in the following video, every year half a billion cups that are not biodegradable are being thrown into the land. Industrial designers Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker hope to replace those disposable plastic cups with their vegan ones, made with six natural ingredients and with different flavors, which allows them to combine with the drink that they contain. As the creators suggest in the next video, the cups are the beginning of another future packaging made of the same material they have already patented. For now, both entrepreneurs are still engaged in introducing their new product to the market.
Also an edible container for food, the WikiPearls are little balls of ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and coffee, wrapped in a kind of thin natural skin which acts as packaging and that the consumer can eat together with the product. The idea came out to the bio-creator and Harvard professor David Edwards after a conversation about “tensegrity” with Ken Snelson, a New York sculptor. During the talk he wondered whether it would be possible to design food and beverage packaging like nature designs fruits and vegetables. As explained on the products’ website, what followed was a longer reflection with Harvard students around the possibility of transporting water in ways inspired by our biological cell. Then, Edwards pursued his research in collaboration with designer François Azambourg and biologist Don Ingber.
In the following video, David Edwards, founder of WikiFoods, and Gary Hirshberg, Chairman of Stonyfield Farms, talks about their collaboration around this product, which combines art, nutritional principles, and is designed to offer a completely new way of delivering food with “minimum side effects” both in the environment and human health, as Edwards highlights.
Like the previous designs, Ooho is the first edible water bottle. Three London-based industrial design students (Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier, and Guillaume Couche) created this container using “spherification”, a technique from molecular gastronomy. The water is hygienically protected under a double membrane, which also allows for labeling. The result is a kind of water blob that reduces the costs and contamination generated by bottled water, as the creators point out. The innovation presents, however, some complications for consumers when drinking or eating the water, as shown in the next video.
Besides being edible, the Vivos’ delivery systems are soluble. They dissolve in liquid so that the consumer is able to eat the product as if it hadn’t been packaged at all. Vivos’ system is engineered to create individual pouches, sachets, or other containers while the dissolved film can then be safely consumed along with the food, as you’ll see in this video.