How will water be sold in the supermarkets of the future?
Billions of bottles of mineral, spring or just drinking water are sold around the world every day. The consumption of this product has grown exponentially in the last decade and in 2017 experts predict that global figures will reach 391,000 million litres. This increase has also resulted in high levels of plastic waste, since most of these bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a material that takes up to 100 years to biodegrade.
Faced with this situation of high consumption and poor recycling, the sector is wondering about the future of bottled water and what innovative proposals can encourage its continued growth in the market the environment or the product, which must have high-quality organoleptic characteristics and retain all its properties, especially the fact of being tasteless, odourless and colourless.
Several companies have already committed themselves to promoting ecological, sustainable packaging that retains the mineral richness of the water and ensures it bacteriological stability, characteristics that are the key to its huge popularity. Perhaps the most innovative proposal has been made by the London company Skipping Rocks Lab, which has revolutionised the consumption of water from top to bottom by making the container disappear completely and promoting new forms of consumption.
Without affecting the taste
The goal of Skipping Rocks Lab is to eliminate the traditional plastic containers and replace them with a biodegradable material that preserves the natural properties of water. This is the thinking behind their proposal, ‘Ooho!’, which consists of edible spheres filled with mineral water. These small flavourless balloons, which do not affect the taste of the product, are inspired by the spherification techniques used by such prestigious chefs as the Catalan Ferran Adrià.
This company uses plants, seaweed and calcium chloride to create these biodegradable membranes, which are filled with small amounts of water – to which colours and flavours such as fresh mint, orange or ginger can be added – that consumers can drink without worrying about where to deposit the container afterwards. In this way, plastic consumption is cut to zero by using a material that is much cheaper as well as being natural and biodegradable.
This innovative, sustainable format, which offers consumers a new sensation, begins to degrade naturally fours week after production and keeps the water fresh for several days. In fact, eating the membrane provides greater hydration and offers consumers a completely new sensation according to its creators.
Maintaining water quality and characteristics
The London-based company CanO Water also works in this line of sustainability, having decided to replace the plastic packaging with cans made of aluminium, which can be recycled in larger quantities than plastic or glass and better maintains the temperature and freshness of the water, because the material is opaque. In addition, the cans come with resealable lids so that the contents are not exposed as in the typical cans.
There is no doubt that the future of water consumption, apart from the packaging, depends on the ability of producers to maintain its purity and natural properties. The containers are only the support in which all the freshness and hydration that consumers need is stored.