The Futuristic Food Packaging

The Futuristic Food Packaging You Can Eat, Even After Washing It

MAD SCIENTIST DAVID EDWARDS IMAGINES CONSUMERS BUYING SELF-CONTAINED, WASHABLE BALLS OF SODA, YOGURT, AND CHEESE AT THE GROCERY STORE.

Remember David Edwards, the Harvard professor behind smokable chocolate and inhalable coffee? When we last wrote about Edwards, in March, he was introducing Wahh, a Philippe Starck-designed canister that delivers puffs of vaporized alcohol. Since then, Edwards’s team has been back in the kitchen, working with designer François Azambourg to develop the WikiCell, a product that has implications for the food industry that move well beyond novelty.

A great PRI report from earlier this week introduces us to the WikiCell, an edible packaging that attempts to reduce the massive amount of packaging used to sell food. “Think about the skin of a grape and how it protects the grape itself,” explains Edwards on WikiCell’s website. “This is how a WikiCell works. This soft skin may be comprised primarily of small particles of chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or many other natural substances with delicious taste and often useful nutrients. Inside the skin may be liquid fruit juice, or thick pudding.”

A WikiCell (alternate name: Occupy Food?) is made from a few basic ingredients. First, Edwards and Azambourg start with a crushed food like chocolate, seeds, or nuts, depending on what’s inside the cell. That’s mixed with healthy ions like calcium and chitosan, a common polysaccharide derived from the shells of shrimp. Together, they form a gel-like material that can hold everything from cocktails to yogurt.

“I get home, and I hand [the food] to my son, and he hands it to his friend,” Edwards tells PRI. “And then the friend says, ‘But did you wash your hands?’ At that point, I clean it as I do fruit and vegetables today. I can run water over it, and it doesn’t dissolve, actually. And it can be cleaned, and then I can eat it.”

This definitely isn’t the first or even tenth attempt at edible food packaging. For example, Diane Leclair Besson is developing an edible plate that won a Core77 Design Award last month. But beyond the technical advantages of WikiCells (the whole washing thing is impressive), Edwards might have a leg up on his competition with his experience launching challenging products into the consumer market. In September, he secured$10 million in venture capital from Flagship Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners.

The money has helped the team carry out its first consumer tests (perhaps surprisingly, few seem to have a problem with the concept) and found WikiCell Designs as an independent company. In 2013, Edwards plans to open a “WikiBar” in Paris, where visitors will be able to try the company’s first commercial product: WikiCell Ice Cream.

[H/t PRI]

Via FastCoDesign

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in DESIGN, FOOD RESEARCH, FOOD SUSTAINABILITY, PACKAGING e contrassegnato come , , , , , , , , , da FOODA . Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri.

Informazioni su FOODA

FOODA – Associazione per il Food Design – è un’organizzazione di progettisti, studiosi, comunicatori, aziende e istituzioni con fuoco sullo studio, la progettazione e l’innovazione degli Atti Alimentari. FOODA promuove la cultura progettuale degli Atti Alimentari assolvendola a elemento culturale, economico e ambientale di fondamentale importanza per la società contemporanea e futura, dando impulso all’innovazione di processo e di prodotto e potenziando le competenze degli operatori del settore. Obiettivo di FOODA è definire la disciplina del Food Design, il ruolo e le competenze del Food Designer; incrementare la consapevolezza, lo studio, la ricerca e l’interdisciplinarietà all’interno del paradigma degli Atti Alimentari promuovendo una corretta gestione e una progettazione sostenibile dei processi, dei prodotti e degli immaginari legati al cibo. FOODA intende perseguire i suoi obiettivi per mezzo di iniziative culturali, progetti di studio e ricerca autonomi e in cooperazione con enti e aziende, fornendo formazione e informazione professionale ai suoi soci, consulenza specializzata agli operatori del settore.

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