19. Apr 2017

An edible water bottle makes a splash

Need hydration on the go? Ooho! is a single-serve seaweed-based squishy spherical packaging for beverages of every kind. Touted as being biodegradable and 100% natural, the product has created a sensation - securing its initial £400,000 funding target through Crowdcube within days and more than doubling that to date.

nSkipping Rocks Lab, a seaweed-tech startup based in London and the company behind the product, Ooho! launched the initiative earlier this month with as goal to create a waste-free alternative to plastic bottles and cups. The company says its proprietary material is actually cheaper than plastic and can encapsulate any beverage including water, soft drinks, spirits and cosmetics.

“The consumption of non-renewable resources for single-use bottles and the amount of waste generated is profoundly unsustainable. The aim of Ooho is to provide the convenience of plastic bottles while limiting the environmental impact,” said the company in a press statement. It added that it sought to stop 1 billion plastic bottles reaching the ocean every year & to stop 300 million kg of CO2 from ever being emitted.

To make an Ooho ball, the liquid to be encapsulated is first frozen, then dipped into an algae mixture that forms a membrane around the ice, in a process called spherification commonly used to make fake caviar. The compostable membrane creates a watertight seal around the contents of the Ooho!. These have melted by the time they are drunk. The spheres are opened by biting the membrane, after which the contents are consumed in a single go. Or the whole Ooho! can be eaten, membrane and all. Note that the Ooho! comes with an outer membrane is designed to protect the product, which simply slips off.

Skipping Rocks Lab is part of the Climate KIC start-up acceleration program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and the scientific team is based in Imperial College (London).

At the moment Ooho is mostly being sold at events, while Skipping Rocks is working on setting up fully-automated production machine for the product. (KL)


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