A bottle coating that enables thick foods, such as ketchup, to slide out easily could be on the market within two years after one of its developers told FoodProductionDaily.com that they were in talks with major food brands.
LiquiGlide, a non-stick coating has been developed after two months of work by researchers from Varanasi Research Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The solid coating, which acts like a lubricating liquid, can be used with foods including honey, ketchup (see video), mustard and mayonnaise in glass and plastic and the researchers are looking at applying the method for metal cans.
Tests have been carried out in the laboratory and the scientists said despite only being in the early stages they don’t anticipate any problems with scaling up production.
MIT PhD candidate and CEO of the company, Dave Smith, told FoodProductionDaily.com the patented non-toxic coating is a plant-based substance made from FDA-approved materials.
“We have been working on the project for two years but for other uses such as non-wetting applications on car windshields, it is only recently we used it in bottles.
“Because there is no leftover sauce the bottles are easier to recycle as they will be cleaner after use.
“We predict it will be on the market in two years or less with the interest already and how popular it has been.”
Smith added they were currently testing the shelf life of the coating and would learn the results further down the line.
When asked if the product comes out too fast, he said: “We can it slow down. You can still have a squeeze bottle top and the bottle design we have might change, it could have a smaller opening.”
The coating can be sprayed or extruded into bottles and could involve separate machinery but the team are currently looking at different ways and stages to integrate it.
Smith also explained the closest thing to their product already on the market was Heinz upside down bottles.
“Heinz upside down bottle are their main seller and smaller bottles can be sold at the same price as customers are willing to pay a bit more for efficiency.
“We estimated there was one million tonnes of waste every year from all bottles with leftover sauces that the coating could work for.”
Professor Kripa Varanasi told this publication the upside down bottles don’t work for foods such as mayonnaise which is where LiquiGlide has the advantage.
“When we were looking into this we found nothing like it out there, the only thing similar is an upside down bottle which doesn’t help which things like mayonnaise, so we are creating a market.”
He added that the group were planning their next step in their business as well as meeting with food companies.
As well as Smith and Varanasi, the team includes Brian Solomon, Chris Love, Adam Paxson and Rajeev Dhiman.
LiquiGlide recently won second place title in MIT’s $100k entrepreneurship competition, and the prototype was voted as the fan-favourite award.
Professor Varanasi added: “We were runners up [in the tournament] and there was a lot of interest in what we had done so with a bit more thought we will be ready.
“It is our goal to really modify efficiency and this is a great step in that direction.”