December 22nd, 2014
One day in the future, you may pour orange juice from the skin of an orange and sip wine out of a grape flavoured shell. The revolutionary ‘edible food packaging technology’ makes it possible.
After creating Breathable Foods, dr. David Edwards of Harvard University was ready for something new. Called Wikicells, this new way of wrapping food or beverage items into edible containers is a delicious solution to our ever-growing plastic problem.
“The notion [of Wikicells] is that you are englobing liquid, foam, or something else in a soft membrane held together by food particles that are being connected by electrostatic charges to each other and to a small amount of natural polymer,” explains Edwards.
The soft membrane could be surrounded by a harder egg-like shell if necessary – something made out of chocolate, rock candy, or even algae. To date, the Harvard team has created an orange-flavoured membrane for storing orange juice, a tomato-flavoured gazpacho container and a grape flavoured package for wine, and more are in the works.
“You can imagine that the yogurt will have a fruity kind of membrane. It could be raspberry, cherry, blueberry. We make something that looks like mozzarella cheese, but when you cut it with a spoon it’s all yogurt inside,” he says.
Curious? You can try the Wikicell products out at Edward’s Lab Store Paris. Ultimately he hopes to design a WikiCell production machine that could be sold to restaurants, companies, and even villages in developing countries that want to manufacture their own products and ditch traditional packaging.
“Our perspective is that eventually, the packaging of tomorrow will be the fruit of today,” says Edwards.
Photo: Phase One Photography