We are in a constant tussle with our environment. We have to make it better, but so many years of disregard and exploitation of our nature will not get resolved so easily. Thankfully, at this day and age, we have technology on our side. Green technology is advancing at a rapid pace which promises to sustain and promote a healthy green environment.
One such green tech is WikiPearl – A food that can be consumed whole. And by the whole, I mean the entire thing, packaging included. The technology is being by Wikifoods Inc., a company that is reinventing packaging of food items by going plastic free.
Wikifoods Inc. was founded in the year 2012 and is based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States of America. The term WikiPearl, on the other hand, comes from the idea of David Edwards, a bio-creator and also a professor at Harvard University.
WikiPearl was inspired by nature. The creators wondered if it would be possible to design packaging of foods and beverages the way nature packs its fruits and vegetable. Like the skin of a grape or a coconut. Both the fruits have a skin on the outside which prevent germs and other contaminants from entering the fruity inside. Sometimes, the skin also carries a significant nutritional value in them. The same was thought for food and beverage packing – something that would be edible and also serve the purpose of preventing contaminants from entering the food inside.
These days most of our food items and beverages comes packed in a plastic container, and as we all know, plastic is not good for our environment at all. Plastic pollutes, and statistics shows that at least 15% of all wastes contain plastic. Plastic does degrade over time and remains the same creating a threat for nature. Plastics end up in the ocean harming aquatic life. Some might wonder that plastics are recycled; that should count. But in truth, only 1% of the entire plastic waste of the world is recycled and that is a very very small amount.
On the other hand WikiPearl, food items come packed in a skin which is made of compounds that are edible allowing you to enjoy the food inside as well the packaging. The ‘Wiki-edible’ skin protects the food item inside and also offers the possibility of adding a second layer of biodegradable covering such as cellulose, bagasse, etc.
WikiPearl is developing food products that come in bite-size shape wrapped with wiki food edible skin technology. They already have a list of products available and more products are being added every day. Some of their products include cheese, vegetable, soups, water and even ice-cream!
A WikiPearl has two main parts:
- The “Heart”: This is the middle portion of the food items and contains the actual food or beverage.
- The “Skin”: This is the edible covering of the food or beverage that is biodegradable and also packed with nutritional value.
According to the creators, “the skin is a protective electrostatic gel that is formed by harnessing interactions between natural food particles and polysaccharide.” This electrostatic gel prevents water and oxygen to penetrate the skin and reach the food inside.
Some WikiPearl foods and beverages
- WikiPearl Cheese: Almost everyone adores cheese, right? And cheese either comes in tin cans or wrapped in a tin foil or in a plastic bag that goes in the trash. WikiPearl has made small bite sizes of fresh cheese with a good covering that is as delicious as the cheese inside and it also promises to keep the cheese fresher than traditional ways of packing cheese.
- WikiPearl Yoghurt: Yoghurt, just like cheese, comes in a plastic container which after done with goes to the trash. Also, you need a spoon to have some and if you have it outside, you’ll probably be using a disposable plastic spoon that again goes into the trash. WikiPearl Yoghurt comes in bite size packages that are easy to carry, creates no waste and also prevents the goodies from melting away.
- WikiPearl Ice-Cream: Ice-cream is the latest addition to WikiPearl foods. Just like everything else, this one also comes in bite size packing, has no plastic cover or container making it eco-friendly and as according to the WikiPearl creators, this ice-cream stays colder for a longer duration than conventional ice-creams. The protective covering of this ice-cream prevents the inside from melting as they warm up and spoil your hands.
- WikiPearl Fruits and Vegetables: WikiPearl has come up with small bite sized portions of fruits and vegetables with their protective covering enhancing its taste and nutritional value. Also, no trash!
A WikiPearl Fruit!
WikiPearl foods are one step closer towards making our Earth plastic free. This technology, which won the best innovation award at SIAL in 2012, is under constant development as they look to add more food items to their offering list. Once completely developed, this technology will make packaged food obsolete and the dream of a plastic free Earth will be much closer.