Innovating Edible Packaging with Skipping Rocks Labs

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Jemima Heard
4 minutes

We helped Skipping Rocks Labs to achieve:

  • 10x increase in production capability
  • 30,000 plastic bottles saved
  • 4-6 weeks decomposition

Skipping Rocks Labs wanted to create a biodegradable alternative to single use plastics, based on seaweed. They needed our help to support the development of the material, and fine-tune the production of the material.

Seaweed packaging allows Skipping Rocks Labs to package food and beverage products that are 100% ‘instantly consumable’, cutting down the effects of traditional packaging on the environment. Skipping Rock Labs have named the seaweed-based film packaging ‘Ooho’.

We connected founders Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Yves-Paslier to LSBU academics Ben Lishman, Issa Chaer and Alex Paurine. They spent 360 hours over six months:

  • Reviewing the technique used to mix the seaweed packaging ‘dough’;
  • Researching and testing alternatives to the mixing technique to allow for an increase of 10 times the mixing volume - from 5KG to 50KG;
  • Performing a review of Skipping Rocks Lab’s original packaging machine design, assessing for reliability, ease of manufacture, ease of assembly and cost;
  • Permeability testing of the original Ooho material, as the permeability was too high and loss of containment was excessive;
  • Testing to measure, understand and compate the materials’ properties to plastics and other alternatives;
  • Designing and validating a test method for the evaluation and comparison of the permeability of Ooho with other alternatives.
  • The production of a report detailing the testing, results and recommendations for improving their machinery.

The results:

  • Ooho capsules were released to market in 2017. The capsules can be eaten whole, or bitten into to release the product inside.
  • Discarded Ooho capsules will naturally decompose in 4-6 weeks - just like fruit.
  • Ooho capsules were used to refresh runners during the 2019 London Marathon, saving 30,000+ plastic bottles from littering the streets during the event.
Sustainable Innovation offers a lot of access to equipment and academics, in a programme that is very startup-friendly and forward thinking
- Pierre Yves-Paslier