Edible Packaging Is Here, And It tastes Better Than You Think
Could we make single use packaging disappear? Start up Notpla aims to do so with their completely edible food packaging pods called Ooho.
The compact, squishy capsules being handed out to marathon runners in the picture are filled with sports drink. This is just one of the many applications that Ooho can be used for.
The waterproof film is made from seaweed and if not eaten, are completely biodegradable in 4-6 weeks.
How is it done?
Notpla uses the components from seaweed as the basis of the packaging.
These mouth sized balls are then filled with their desired contents, a condiment such as ketchup for example – then are frozen and dipped into calcium chloride followed by sodium alginate which is derived directly from the seaweed they harvest.
This process creates a water proof membrane. Similar to the way bubble tea places create fluid filled pearls.
Don’t let their size fool you, as these Ooho’s have taken the market by storm – With over 65 London restaurants offering condiments like ketchup, mustard or soy sauce served in Ooho capsules.
Even though fast food condiment capsules may be the obvious choice, there are a wide range of potential markets for Notpla’s Ooho to serve a purpose.
Such applications could be in airlines, ocean cruises and space travel. These industries could not only benefit from the lower environmental footprint but also the bottom line when it comes to disposing of the large quantity of small packaging’s consumed during travel.
Additional applications could also be for eco-friendly travellers such as campers not wanting to leave behind a trail of garbage at their campsite.
“Edible packaging will find its place,” contends Carol Culhane, a food scientist and a member of the Institute of Food Technologists. With threats of plastic pollution escalating, she says that could happen soon.