A Harvard professor has come up with a form of edible packaging that houses food in the same way the inside of a coconut or a grape is protected. David Edwards, and designer collaborator Francois Azambourg have created Wikicells, packaging that uses natural ingredients that taste good and contain nutrients, such as small particles of chocolate, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
The first commercial product to be launched by the company is Wikicells ice cream – balls of ice cream served in a bagasse container, which is the fibre left over after the juice has been squeezed out of sugarcane stalk. The creators believe Wikicells could eliminate the use of paper and plastic in packaging.
"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," says Edwards. The soft membrane could be surrounded by a harder egg-like shell if necessary--something made out of chocolate, rock sugar, or even algae. Or, imagine this: a tomato and basil membrane with gazpacho inside or a chocolate membrane holding hot chocolate.
Edwards plans to release WikiCell products through a company that he’s forming (and at the W Hotel in Paris). Eventually 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.