Sustainable packaging creator confirms expansion of team

L-R: Edyta Marek, James Ravenscroft, Audrey Caspar, Brett Harding, Sonia Tedeku and Huafu Wang

XAMPLA, a creator of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, has announced an expansion with seven new hires and the opening of a new Cambridge laboratory.

Xampla said it acquired the extra lab to enable each of its new customer projects to expand in a dedicated space, and to increase capacity for its team of scientists.

The facility features specialist analytical equipment for further developing Xampla’s plant protein-based films, and for creating film products in applications such as dishwasher tablets.

Xampla’s plant protein-based material has been developed through more than 15 years’ research at the University of Cambridge. The certified B-Corp has created a ‘world-first natural polymer’ material, described as a ‘flexible, strong, edible’ replacement for single-use plastic.

Audrey Caspar, a polymer chemist, joins Xampla after more than three years at Unilever where she managed technical workstreams for Cornetto ice-creams including packaging, formulation and process design. She will lead on the planning, design and execution of Xampla’s food ingredient R&D projects as product development manager.

Huafu Wang joins as senior analytical chemist from his role as a technical consultant at Reading Scientific Services. He has worked across the food and beverage, FMCG and environmental industries. Huafu leads the use of the gas chromatography equipment for fragrance analysis and leads Xampla’s fragrance microcapsule stability studies. He also supports the team with sensory performance testing.

Brett Harding joins from Hexcel, where he supported new product development for epoxy adhesives and resin systems. As application scientist at Xampla, he will be responsible for supporting the research and development team in creating natural polymer resins for the company’s seed coatings project.

Xampla has also expanded its commercial team with the hire of Sonia Tedeku as marketing and communications manager to support the firm as it launches new products. Sonia moves after three years at Cambridge Commodities, where she worked within the food and beverage industry on bringing a range of vitamin formulations and blends to market. She joins head of marketing and communications, Katrina Curl, who started with Xampla last year and brings experience from London agencies at setting strategies for brands including Unilever, Britvic and Canon.

Edyta Marek joins as senior administrator, while Phoebe Williams and James Ravenscroft join the lab team as a research assistant and project assistant respectively.

These new appointments bring Xampla’s employee headcount to 27.

Simon Hombersley, CEO at Xampla, said, “As our amazing team grows so does our business. By working directly with big household brands, we expect to see Xampla’s technology in the hands of more and more consumers this year.

“Everyone at Xampla is bound together by a common commitment to make a plastic that doesn’t pollute: one that can be grown from local feedstocks, used locally and composted back to soil locally. We are making that dream a reality every day.”