Recipe box brand Gousto trials edible, plastic-free packaging

Gousto is testing what it claims is the world's first edible stock cube wrapper in its recipe boxes, after finding an innovation partner that makes plastic-free packaging from plant-based materials.

Recipe box brand Gousto trials edible, plastic-free packaging

Image: Gousto

The wrappers, created in collaboration with Cambridge University spinout Xampla, are made using pea protein and potato starch. It has taken more than one year to develop the packaging.

From next week, Gousto customers receiving the Indian spiced carrot and lentil soup recipe will receive the stock cubes in the innovative packaging. They will be instructed to dissolve the stock cubes with the packaging in hot water. The packaging is safe to eat and is both vegan and gluten free. If not dissolved, it can be composted at home.

Gousto will collect customer feedback on the packaging and explore the potential for introducing it to all stock wrappers in the future. The brand is set to sell around 25 million stock sachets in 2021. Should this rollout take place, Gousto would mitigate 17 tonnes of plastic annually. It has already halved the amount of plastic in boxes sent to customers by switching to cardboard insulators called the ‘Eco Chill Box’.

As for Xampla, the organisation was founded 15 years ago by researchers at Cambridge University and has grown rapidly in recent years, amid growing interest in plastic-free packaging. As well as providing packaging to the food and beverage sector, it works with health, beauty and toiletry brands to replace small, single-use items with plastic-free alternatives. It now boasts Unilever’s former chief sustainability officer Jeff Seabright as its chairman.

“We’re so excited to be working with Gousto to offer more sustainable alternatives to plastic, and hope this marks the beginning of significant change within the industry and many more innovative packaging solutions in the future,” said Xampla’s chief executive Simon Hombersley.

The announcement comes shortly after Gousto certified as a B Corp, joining competitors HelloFresh and the Mindful Chef in the UK B Corp community.

Innovation that’s out of this world

In related news, Estee Lauder has partnered with the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab in the US to launch an open challenge for innovators developing technologies that can reduce plastic packaging use.

The challenge will support innovators at the development and testing stage of projects that aim to reduce plastic pollution in the environment, replace petrochemical feedstocks in packaging manufacturing or reduce virgin plastic in manufacturing. This latter point covers recycled plastic inclusion, as well as reusable packaging and formats with less plastics. Projects at more mature stages will also be provided.

Challenge finalists will be announced next March at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, and further information on funding provided ahead of that announcement.

The Estee Lauder Companies’ group president Stephane de La Faverie said: “As a global leader in the beauty industry, we are committed to furthering scientific research and innovation for more sustainable business practices. We are excited to be part of an initiative that could be truly transformative for our brand, our beloved consumers and the future of our planet.”

The Companies’ overarching commitment on plastic packaging is to ensure that at least 75% of formats are recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled or recoverable by 2025, aiming for 100% if possible. It is worth noting that recycled packaging and refillable packaging is not, inherently, recyclable.

Sarah George

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