Three London-based design students have created an edible packaging concept that seeks to replace the traditional water bottle.
Ooho is an oval-shaped water container made out of edible algae membrane. Inspired by cooking methods used in molecular gastronomy, the vessel is created using spherification (the process of turning liquid into spheres held together by a gelatinous membrane).
A double layer of gel made from biodegradable brown algae and calcium chloride holds the water, meaning identification labels and packaging can be placed in-between the layers. The design is also a much cheaper alternative to bottled water, as each only costs two (US) cents to make.
Although the design has certain drawbacks – such as issues around hygiene, storage, and difficulty in drinking without spillage – its design is evidence of a move toward more sustainably minded packaging solutions. As discussed in Shape-Shifting Packaging, edible packaging concepts represent a huge opportunity for food brands.
US-based WikiPearls (formerly Wikicells) has seen commercial success with its edible food membranes, which can be used as a protective package for hot and cold food and drink. The product is now sold at the company’s Parisian concept store, as well as in certain US Whole Foods shops.
About 50 billion water bottles are manufactured every year, and most of them end up in landfills, where it takes them centuries to biodegrade. As highlighted in Ambiente: Trends, value-conscious consumers are turning towards reusable, portable water bottles for on-the-go drinking. For more sustainable material solutions, take a look at our recent Design Direction: Intervene.