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Have your bottle and eat it too – edible containers could be on the way


February 28, 2012

Food and drink containers such as these could soon be available in a novel edible form (Photo: Liftarn)

Food and drink containers such as these could soon be available in a novel edible form (Photo: Liftarn)

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Created by the same man who came up with Le Whif (inhalable chocolate) and Aeroshot (aerosol caffeine boost), portable containers for food and drinks could soon be available in a novel edible form. The project emerged out of an idea put forth by Dr. David Edwards from Harvard University's Wyss Institute. The plastic-free products would be a useful alternative to take-away containers, lunch boxes, and drink bottles, while reducing the environmental concerns often associated with plastic production and recycling.

The base ingredients of this revolutionary packaging system are called WikiCells, and they consist of a natural food membrane that is held together by electrostatic forces. Forming a biodegradable shell that can be used as a portable container, the membrane is also is safe to consume. Furthermore, the WikiCells membranes are significantly resistant to water, and adjoined shells could conceivably take the form of a bottle or other liquid container over long periods of time.

To date the Harvard research team have created an orange-flavored membrane for storing orange juice, a tomato-flavored gazpacho container and a grape flavored package for wine. While they have yet to construct a bottle with the WikiCells technology, a prototype is hoped to be developed in the near future.

Farther down the road, Edwards envisions a commercially-available WikiCell Machine, that would allow consumers to create edible membranes using foods and drinks of their choice.

Source: Harvard University via The Daily Mail

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Interesting.... but who would eat these? Your pet? I remember reading somewhere that the most common external contaminant for soft drink containers that have been warehoused is rodent feces. Come to think of it, would such containers even survive warehousing? I predict a population explosion of fat rats when these hit the market....

Bob Ehresman

What a hair brained idea. The 'edible' container would have to be inside another outer container for hygiene reasons and in doing so this would add to the overall packaging. Ever bought a can or bottle of juice from a corner shop with long turn around times, then noticed how filthy the container has become?

Steven Howie

Bad idea as has been pointed out, rodents and insects will be all over these. Stop using plastic and make aluminum or thing stainless reusable containers.


Why edible? Biodegradable or compost-able would make a lot more sense.


I hope this is the start of some true alternatives to traditional plastic that generally ends up in landfills. But given that they are adding flavours and calling it edible I imagine they are not even close to having a practical product.


My concern is the hygiene issue of eating the outside shell without washing it.

James Galan

Just because something can go in your mouth doesn't mean that it should...


The most need of th hour. Hope the packaging industry take this forward very soon.

Gopala Krishnan H

Sometimes, you see the initial title and introduction of articles in email and don't bother to open them on the web browser because the introduction gives an idea of the contents, idea and viability. And you move on to the next title. It's all because of the content. Everyone has raised objections of hygiene. But, we do eat fruits, wash them, cut them or just eat them. If these bottles can be handled like fruits, then they have a chance.

Dawar Saify
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