A Lucozade Ribena Suntory-backed plastic-free packaging innovation has been granted an unspecified amount in government funding by Innovate UK – the UK government’s innovation agency.
Manufactured by alternative packaging specialist Notpla, Oohos capsules are made entirely from a seaweed-based material called Notpla and offer a way to deliver drinks under 100 ml in a plastic-free form.
Made from sodium alginate gel, the product is 100% edible and naturally biodegradable in four to six weeks, Lucozade said 15 Aug.
The funding will focus on commercializing the Ooohos technology, with the aim of creating a machine that could be installed in gyms or restaurants and manufacture up to 3,000 Oohos a day containing drinks like Lucozade Sport.
The machine could operate similarly to a barista coffee machine and allow customers to buy liquid-filled Oohos directly from locations such as local coffee shops and gyms.
Lucozade Ribena Suntory has already trialled Oohos filled with Lucozade Sport drinks and gels at four sporting events since September 2018, with over 42,000 Oohos handed out to participants.
Most recently, over 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos were sampled at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon, where according to the beverage company the product received “very positive responses from consumers.”
A survey found that 82 percent of those who tried a Lucozade Sport-filled Ooho found them “appealing” or “very appealing”, Lucozade added.
“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,” said Michelle Norman, director of external affairs and sustainability at Lucozade Ribena Suntory.
Lucozade has stepped up its sustainability efforts in recent months, with a view to ‘reinventing’ its relationship with single-use plastics.
Earlier this year, the beverage company announced a bottle redesign across its core drinks, with bottle-to-bottle recyclability at the heart of the new design.
The company is a founding signatory of the UK Plastics Pact, committing to eliminate “problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging” by 2025.