Non-stick mayo bottles being developed

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Few things are quite as frustrating as being able to get that last little bit of ketchup, mayonnaise, or peanut butter out of its container – fortunately, though, the first commercial products to use a non-stick coating developed by researchers at MIT may soon hit store shelves.

According to BBC News, Norwegian food manufacturer Orkla announced a deal with US-based Liquiglide earlier this week that would make it the first food manufacturer to use the latter’s non-stick technology in product packaging (in this case, non-stick mayonnaise containers).

Under the terms of the deal, Orkla can use LiquiGlide’s slippery coating for mayonnaise products in the Nordics, Germany, Benelux, and the Baltics. The coating is said to be made completely out of natural ingredients, allowing products to slide easily out of their packaging and preventing any food from being wasted. It poses no potential harm to consumers.

In fact, Liquiglide, which was formed in 2012 to sell licenses for the MIT-developed technology, told the BBC that the coating was “completely harmless” and meets all safety standards because it “can be made entirely from food.” The coating is customized to each product, and it causes the interior to be “permanently wet,” enabling the contents to easily slide out.

Other potential uses include gas pipelines, medical devices

The coating itself was developed by MIT’s Kripa Varanasi and David Smith as part of Smith graduate research in Varanasi’s research group, the Institute said in a statement. LiquiGlide’s product is described by MIT as a liquid-impregnated coating which acts like a slippery barrier between a surface and a viscous liquid.

When applied to the inside of a condiment bottle, the coating permanently clings to the sides, allowing the edible products inside to slide free without leaving behind any residue. The next goal, Varanasi said, is to use the coating in oil and gas pipelines to prevent clogs and corrosion that could limit flow. The substance could also be used in the future to coat medical devices such as catheters or even airplane wings. The sky’s the limit here, folks.

Regarding its use in food containers, Vince Bamford, buying and supplying editor for The Grocer, told BBC News, “I’m sure consumers do, from time to time, look at the wasted dregs stuck in a bottle of mayo and wonder why suppliers haven’t been able to solve the issue.”

“Embracing this technology would offer a brand a unique selling point, although some degree of education would be required to reassure shoppers that this was a natural product,” he continued, adding that while non-stick packaging “could look good in a TV ad, but I have my doubts that it would be enough to sway a shopper from a preferred or cheaper brand.”


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