Lucozade to trial edible drinks sachets to reduce single-use plastic at sports events

Beverage giant Lucozade Ribena Suntory is set to trial edible drinks sachets made from seaweed at two sports events next month, in an effort to gauge the consumer appetite for plastic-free alternatives to single-use bottles and pouches.

The company will trial the seaweed-based sachets for its Lucozade Sport drinks and gels at the Richmond Marathon and the West Sussex Tough Mudder, which it sponsors. Normally, hundreds of drinks samples in plastic packaging hare handed to runners at these events each year.

The sachets, called Oohos and created in partnership with packaging development company Skipping Rocks Lab, can be eaten, composted or disposed of in normal household bins. Once discarded, they take around six weeks to decompose.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory will use the trial to assess the feasibility of introducing the compostable sachets at other large-scale sporting events as it strives towards a 2025 target of making 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable.

“Lucozade Sport-filled Oohos offer us a hugely exciting opportunity to reduce plastic use in the long-term, especially at mass-participation sporting events,” Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s head of marketing, Lucy Grogut, said.

“As a company, we are always striving to do the right thing and this partnership [with Skipping Rocks Lab] is a positive step in becoming more sustainable.”

Plastics action

The Ooho trial comes shortly after Lucozade Ribena Suntory signed the UK Plastic Pact, which saw the firm commit to collaborate with other big-name corporates to make unnecessary single-use plastic packaging “a thing of the past”.

As part of the Pact, the company has joined the likes of Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever in aiming to effectively recycle or compost 70% of its plastic packaging and introduce a 30% average of recycled content into its plastic packaging ranges.  

However, the immediate focus of the Pact is to identify innovative packaging projects which improve reusability, recyclability or compostability, such as Oohos.

Elsewhere, the sachets are currently being trialled by online food ordering firm Just Eat, which is using them as alternative plastic packets for dips at one of its restaurant partners in Southend. With more than 11 billion plastic condiment sachets sold globally each year, Just Eat will use the trial to investigate whether it is able to roll the solution out to its 29,000 UK restaurant partners.

Department store Selfridges, which stopped selling single-use plastic water bottles in 2015, has also supported the innovation, and stocks a range of soft drinks served in Oohos in the food hall of its London store.

Sarah George

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