SOFT drinks giant Britvic is teaming up with University of Cambridge-backed tech company Xampla to boost packaging innovation.
After 15 years of research, Xampla has developed what it described as the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. The material uses pea protein to make microscopic capsules that protect vitamins within liquid, stopping them from being broken down by sunlight.
Xampla’s work has seen the company secure £1 million in funding from the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to scale up the technology and material processing.
The business said the innovation is ‘critical’ to delivering drinks fortified with vitamins in clear plastic bottles. Britvic’s research shows people are 40% more likely to recycle clear bottles over coloured ones. However, the downside of clear bottles is that they let more UV rays in, losing the necessary protection for vitamin D.
Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, explained, “We are delighted to be partnering with Britvic to deliver innovation that will revolutionise the drinks industry and it is extremely exciting to see what our material can do at scale. Xampla works with businesses to help solve their biggest problems while also enabling customers to meet their sustainability goals.
“Britvic has a proud history of fortifying its products with vitamins and seeking sustainability in its packaging. Our partnership is about helping to do both even more effectively. We can’t wait to get started.”
Last year, Britvic brands Fruit Shoot and 7UP made the shift to clear bottles to drive up recycling rates and Britvic has started to add vitamins B, C and D to Robinsons Fruit & Barley.
Meanwhile, Irish squash brand MiWadi 0% Sugar contains vitamins B, D and zinc and Fruit Shoot has been fortified with multivitamins since 2016.
Sarah Webster, director of sustainable business at Britvic, said, “Our work with Xampla supports our Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy. By agreeing this £1m partnership with each other, we have shown the power of collaboration between established players and cutting-edge innovators to deliver Healthier People and Healthier Planet.
“Xampla technology has the makings of a ‘win-win’, enabling delivery of greater nutritional value in the drinks people love, while ensuring that more products can come to market in clear, recyclable bottles.”