In 2016, a group of three students in London have developed an edible gelatinous packaging to store water.
Three students from London developed a gelatinous packaging—called Ooho, which is degradable and edible—as a water bottle. In 2014, a prototype was developed as an option to plastic bottles. The idea went viral on the internet though some thought it impossible to use without spilling it on yourself. Against the general idea of making a bottle and pouring water in it, González, along with fellow Imperial College London students, Pierre Paslier and Guillaume Couche, used a process which allows the liquid to hold around the shape that consolidates around it. It could be an effective alternative to plastic bottles, which use 1.5 million barrels of crude oil to manufacture it. A 200- millimeter bottle was launched in 2016.
The process of making these edible water bottles is based on the technique called spherification, used in making fake caviar and the tiny juice balls added to boba tea. A spherical membrane is formed when you dip a ball of ice in calcium chloride and brown algae extract. As the membrane is made from food ingredients, it can be eaten. The packaging does not have a natural taste, however, could be improved with added flavors. As the package is degradable, it is not necessary to consume it every time.
“When people try it for the first time, they want to eat it because it’s part of the experience. Then it will be just like the peel of a fruit. You’re not expected to eat the peel of your orange or banana. We are trying to follow the example set by nature for packaging.” says Pierre Paslier, cofounder of Skipping Rocks Lab, the startup developing the packaging.
The startup has provided this unique solution in few cafes and soon plans to manufacture Ooho on a larger scale. It would not be surprising to see someone would hold this gelatinous packaging and enjoy a fresh sip of water in the near future.