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 from a seaweed-based material also named Notpla.
Made from a sodium alginate gel, the product is 100% edible and naturally biodegradable in four to six weeks, according to Lucozade.
In use, the capsules are placed in the mouth and popped to release the drink inside. The capsules deliver drinks in 100ml servings.
The funding will focus on commercialising the Oohos technology, with the aim of creating a machine that could be installed in gyms or restaurants which could manufacture up to 3,000 Oohos capsules a day. The machine could operate similarly to a barista coffee machine, allowing customers to buy the product from a variety of locations.
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. According to the beverage company, the product received ‘very positive responses from consumers’.
“Oohos offers 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 redesigns 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.