The Ooho capsules, produced in a collaboration between Lucozade Ribena Suntory and sustainable packaging start-up Notpla, has secured UK government funding which will allow the edible, seaweed-based plastic-free packaging to roll out on the high street for the first time.
The Ooho capsules are made entirely from seaweed extract and the material Notpla, and can either be eaten or left to naturally biodegrade in four to six weeks – approximately the same length of time as a piece of fruit. The technology uses brown seaweed, which doesn't compete with food crops or need fresh water. Each capsule can hold up to 100ml of liquid.
The funding has been awarded by government innovation agency Innovate UK, and will be used to help Notpla perfect its technology. The start-up's ambition is to create a machine that can manufacture up to 3,000 Oohos a day with drinks like Lucozade Sport, which could be installed in gyms and restaurants.
Trials for the capsules started in September 2018 to deliver Lucozade Sport at sporting events - including the distribution of more than 36,000 capsules at the 2019 London Marathon - to assess the response to ‘plastic-free hydration’.
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Lucozade Ribena Suntory has pledged to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Michelle Norman, Director of External Affairs and Sustainability, LRS, said: “Oohos offer Lucozade Ribena Suntory a completely new and innovative way to deliver on-the-go servings of Lucozade Sport to consumers.
"With Government backing, we are excited to see how Oohos can be rolled out and made more widely available.
"We are proud to be collaborating with Notpla on this new evolution in manufacturing and we will continue to make positive steps to become as sustainable as possible.”
Restaurant Vita Mojo will also be supporting Notpla as a trial partner.
Notpla (originally founded as Skipping Rocks Lab in 2013) is also exploring how its technology can be used as an alternative to single-serving sauce pots and condiment sachets as well as a liner for cardboard takeaway boxes.