Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS) trials drinks in plastic-free, edible seaweed-based sachets in gyms




The packaging, called Oohos, are created by packaging firm Skipping Rocks Lab and made by manufacturing firm Notpla. They can be eaten, composted or disposed of in normal household bins. Once discarded, they take around six weeks to decompose.

LRS first trialled Oohos at large-scale sporting events last year, mindful of the fact that they can only house beverages of up to 100ml. More than 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos were sampled at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon. A survey at the event found that 82% of those who tried Oohos filled with Lucozade Sport found them “appealing” or “very appealing”.

With this positive feedback in mind – but also considering the format’s potential challenges in a retail environment – LRS will trial the Oohos in vending machines at David Lloyd’s Hampton leisure centre in South London.

The UK Government’s Innovate UK arm has provided LRS and Notpla with funding to create a machine that can manufacture and dispense up to 3,000 30ml Oohos daily. The machine was installed in the leisure centre this week for a trial period of undisclosed length, during which, users will be asked to provide feedback on their experience.

LRS claims that the ability for Oohos to be dispensed by machine rather than by hand shows that “progression in technology [is] paving the way for Oohos to become a real contender in sustainable packaging.”

The firm’s business transformation manager Jo Padwick said the trial forms an important step towards LRS’s commitment to eliminate virgin fossil plastics from its European packaging portfolio by 2030.

The installation of the vending machine comes in the same week that LRS confirmed plans to expand its Ooho offerings at sporting events this year. The sachets will be offered by LRS at nine races between April and October, as well as the London Marathon Expo.