Lucozade Sport trials edible seaweed packaging at sporting events

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Ooho capsules are made of edible and biodegradable seaweed.
Ooho capsules are made of edible and biodegradable seaweed.

Related tags Sports drinks Packaging Sustainability functional beverage beverage

UK sports drink Lucozade Sport is to trial plastic-free sports drinks and gels: turning to edible seaweed packaging Ooho.

Created by materials engineering start-up Skipping Rocks Lab, the Ooho packaging can naturally biodegrade in four to six weeks – the same length as a piece of fruit – or can be eaten.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory will trial the packaging at the Richmond Marathon in London on September 16, followed by Tough Mudder in West Sussex on September 29. At each trial, hundreds of Oohos – in 25ml and 70ml sizes - will be handed out to participants, and Lucozade Ribena Suntory says it will use the trial to gauge responses to plastic-free hydration.

Ooho capsules will be handed out at the Richmond Marathon next month

Drinking little and often

Lucozade Sport is an isotonic sports drink which provides carbohydrates and electrolytes to enhance hydration and help maintain performance during prolonged endurance exercise.

It is usually sold in a 500ml PET bottle in a variety of flavors.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory says the Oohos offer a ‘completely new and exciting way to deliver the UK’s favourite sports drink’.

It believes the benefits of the Ooho packaging is two-fold: firstly, there is the environmental advantage of avoiding plastic packaging; and secondly the capsules can offer suitable hydration options for athletes.

“Our sports scientists have told us that during exercise it is better to avoid taking on large amounts of fluid in one go,” ​Lucy Grogut, head of marketing for Lucozade Sport, told this publication.

“Offering both the 25ml and 70ml Ooho sizes gives athletes the ability to drink ‘little and often’.

Ooho also offers us a hugely exciting opportunity to reduce plastic use in the long-term, especially at mass-participation sporting events.  

“We know there’s an appetite from UK consumers to reduce their impact on the environment and we’ll use the quality feedback we get from participants to inform our next move.”

Skipping Rocks Lab is a London-based sustainable packaging start-up. Spun-out of Imperial College London, the team are developing a range of packaging alternatives from seaweed and other plant materials.

Its Ooho capsules can be flavoured and coloured, and Skipping Rocks Lab says they use 5x less CO2​ and 9x less energy compared to PET bottles; as well as being cheaper than plastic.

Pierre Paslier, Co-Founder, Skipping Rocks Lab, said: “As a sustainable packaging start-up, we are pioneering the use of natural seaweed extracts to create packaging with low environmental impact. We’re thrilled to be working with Lucozade Ribena Suntory to trial the use of our edible containers for sports events.”

‘Reinventing our relationship with single-use plastics’

Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s partnership with Ooho is one part of the company’s pledge to ‘reinvent our relationship with single-use plastics’.

It recently became a founding signatory of the UK Plastics Pact: agreeing to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory is rolling out its ‘Global Innovation Challenge’,​ a call to all innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to find practical solutions to help the company move beyond plastic. The programme calls for entrepreneurs who can offer new packaging formats, new packaging materials (such as edible, compostable or up-cycleable materials); smart packaging or direct to consumer options.

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Inset picture 1: Lucozade; inset picture 2: istock/michaeljung

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