London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab has just released Ooho, blobs of water encased in a transparent, edible seaweed-based membrane, which they hope will supplant plastic bottles.
The membrane is coated onto spheres of ice as a liquid. Each blob is formed when the ice melts and the membrane solidifies, encasing the water and preventing it from spilling.
Ooho's innovative idea is just one of many ways inventors have come up with to create edible food containers that are more environmentally-friendly and less wasteful than inedible ones. Here are four others:
1. Milk-based film acts as oxygen blocker to reduce spoilt food
Last August, scientists at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed a biodegradable and edible packaging film made of milk proteins and pectin, a complex sugar.
Though starch-based edible films have already been created, the USDA scientists' claim those earlier versions are "more porous and allows oxygen to seep through its microholes".
"The milk-based packaging, however, has smaller pores and can thus create a tighter network that keeps oxygen out," added the scientists in an American Chemical Society release.
This means that the new film can better prevent food spoilage - much of which occurs in the presence of oxygen - and help reduce food wastage, be it at production facilities or at homes.
As seen in the video, the film can also be sprayed onto food, creating a protective yet edible shield.
2. No need to unwrap your candy
Commonly used to make edible sweet wrapping, this mix of gelatin, glycerin and water is regularly deployed by no less than celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to make wrappers for his caramel sweets.
In his book Heston Blumenthal at Home, he writes: "Obviously you can make the caramels without the wrappers, but they do add something to the presentation, and everybody always loves the idea that you can eat the whole thing."
This wrapping can be readily made at home, unlike Ooho's membrane or the USDA's milk-based film.
3. Your choice of spoon: sweet or savoury?
Hyderabad native Narayana Peesapaty set up Bakeys in 2011 to sell his take on edible cutlery.
Made up mostly of millet flour baked dry, Bakeys' cutlery is said to have a shelf life of three years.
The company has even created flavoured cutlery, with sweet and savoury options available.
Buyers beware though: an attempt to crowdsource for funds on Kickstarter to expand the company internationally has ended in disaster, with the company unable to fulfill its orders in the United States.
Over 100 disgruntled backers of the crowdsourcing initiative banded together to send in a letter to Kickstarter's legal team to seek a resolution.
4. Bite into a morning pick-me-up
Made out of a cup-shaped biscuit, wrapped in sugar paper and lined internally with heat-resistant white chocolate, the cups debuted to much fanfare in 2015.
Despite plans for the cups, dubbed Scoffee-ee Cups, to be tested at a select group of KFC outlets in Britain, consumers have remained unable to get hold of them.
"We don't know when we'll be able to launch them," a KFC spokesman had said in response to queries from Business Insider.
Sources: American Chemical Society, Guardian, Bakeys, Business Insider