OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Gotta Eat Them All

Rethinking the container as... food?

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub
5 7

Written by

Inspired by several posts about making the packaging soluble in water and edible utensils, I decided to do a quick research into similar products to find out what products are available and how ready they are for market. It turns out that there are many fully-developed products available for use. Here are a few prominent examples:

Ooho by Skipping Rocks LabTransparent, edible membrane made of plant and seaweed extracts as an encapsulant for water, essentially creating 'balls' of edible water. Small scale production and ramping up. Reuters.

MonoSol: Clear, soluble packaging for hot chocolate, oatmeal and other drinks. Commercial as of 2012. Fast Company.

Foodie Spoon: Edible, flavoured 'shells' that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes - which, of course, can be used as utensils - made from natural ingredients and come in gluten free options! Available now.

BakeysEdible cutlery made from sorghum, rice, and wheat flour - 100% vegan and Halal. Based in Hyderabad, India.

Tomorrow Machines: A project of Swedish design firm Tomorrow Machines looks at biodegradable food packaging that 'match up well' with different food types and is pleasing to the eye. I would classify this as proof of concept as of 2014. Washington Post.

You can read about other cool inventions in this WIRED article

The question that came to mind: will people eat the containers? Even if it is safe, tasty, and looks pretty? What would it take for people to get over the barrier, if there is any?

How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

In our Use Cases, we can rethink of containers and packaging as part of the food (and the dining experience?) itself, thereby avoiding the generation of waste.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

I would say that this is a reframing of the purpose of food packaging. Additionally, I would point out that there already many, many products out there already just waiting for adoption; it isn't always the case that something innovative is a 'new' idea but one that improves existing ones over the adoption barrier.

Tell us about yourself

Designer-at-heart, chemical engineering grad working in renewable energy in Thailand.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Msindhu

I think one of the reasons to hesitate eating the packaging material could be to avoid contamination. We don't want to eat somehting thats been exposed to dirt and has been touched by hands. But at the same time, we've all eaten icecreams from cones without a second thought.What are your thoughts? How do these edible packaging business tackle the problem of avoiding contamination?

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Paricha,

Thank you all your great posts in this challenge. I hope we get to see you in the ideas phase.

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub

Hi Kate - thanks for the recognition :) See you in the next phase!

Photo of Yvette Velasco

I actually like the Ooho idea. I like bushwalking and this is a convenient way to bring portable water especially on long hikes.

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub

Please let me know how it tastes if you have the chance! haha