Gym goers are being given a glimpse into the potential future of sustainable, plastic-free gym hydration.
Members at David Lloyd Hampton, South West London, were the first to try out a new vending machine dispensing edible capsules of Lucozade Sport, thanks to a government-backed innovation project between Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS), which has a major manufacturing based in the Forest of Dean and sustainable packaging firm Notpla.
The 30ml capsules, called Oohos, are made entirely from seaweed extract. They create offer Lucozade Sport in a plastic-free form that is edible, or biodegrades within four to six weeks.
That doesn’t mean that the company is replacing all its bottles with these new edible capsules. In February Lucozade Ribena Suntory opened its new energy and water-efficient production line at its Coleford factory, a £13 million investment. The high-speed bottling line fills 55,000 bottles an hour, and producing a bottle on the new line requires 40% less energy and water than the previous line. The Forest Factory is at the heart of Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s UK operations and is already one of the most efficient factories under the Suntory brand.
Funding from the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, was secured by Notpla in partnership with Lucozade Ribena Suntory for the new seaweed capsules innovation. The grant is supporting LRS’s ambition to create a machine that can manufacture and dispense up to 3,000 Oohos a day, bringing a plastic-free format to gyms for the first time. This trial will allow LRS to better understand the potential for future use of these machines, using feedback from attendees for further research.
The partnership between LRS and Notpla aligns with the soft drinks company’s commitment to eliminate virgin, fossil-fuel based plastic from the business by 2030. This commitment on plastics forms part of the company’s Growing for Good vision, which has seen the company lead the way on recycled and recyclable plastics since Ribena became the first soft drinks brand to use 100% recycled plastic in 2007.
Jo Padwick, Business Transformation Manager at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, said: “Our ambition is to develop the most sustainable packaging possible, going above and beyond to achieve our Growing for Good vision. Our collaboration with Notpla to develop more uses for Oohos is just one example of how we’re working to achieve our commitment to eliminate virgin, fossil-fuel based plastic in the next 10 years.”
Ooho capsules were previously only given out by hand due to the specific environment they needed to be stored in. They are now being dispensed for the first time from a vending machine, showing the progression in technology and paving the way for Oohos to become a real contender in sustainable packaging.
Shreena Bhatt, a gym goer at David Lloyd Hampton comments “It’s brilliant to see a leading sports drinks brand take steps towards plastic reduction. It was an odd sensation, but really refreshing and I would definitely use one again. Ideal for quick hydration after an intense workout and still has the same great taste!”
The vending machine is just one of the many opportunities the British public have to try Lucozade in the edible packaging this year. 90,000 will be handed out at the Virgin Money London Marathon alone, with more being provided to race participants at events across the UK.