A spokesman for the company told FoodProductionDaily at the trade show Sial that it planned to open the first shop selling such food in March 2013.
A second outlet would follow next to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge in the US later next year, he said. “It will function like an ice cream bar. We hope to open hundreds of Wikibars in the next few years.”
The spokesman said the edible packaging idea was a reaction against the over-packaging of foods, which generated a huge amount of waste.
New kind of packaging
“Today it has gone so far that it has become a real problem. Now the technology has become available to create a new kind of packaging.”
The concept was the brainchild of Harvard University professor David Edwards and co-founder Robert Connelly, now chief executive, who wanted to recreate natural foods such as fruits, which are enclosed in edible skin.
Their Massachusetts-based start-up venture worked with a Paris-based firm to create foods such as bite-sized cheeses with edible skins that extend their shelf life and yogurt balls enclosed in a soft outer layer.
Other ideas the firm is considering include ice cream and cocktails enveloped in the edible skins.
Additional health benefits
The skins are 100% biodegradable and could be fortified with additional health benefits. “The membrane adds taste and vitamins to the product,” said the spokesman.
Edwards is the founder of ArtScience Labs, which seeks to bring cross-industry collaboration to bear on new product development.
The business is working on “tons of other products”, said the WikiCell spokesman.
These include Aeroshot energy shots using natural flavours as carriers in an inhaler format. Each product contains enough for five or six doses. Each shot contains 100mg of caffeine, the equivalent of a large cup of coffee, but contains zero calories.
The product was launched at the start of this year in Paris and has just been extended into new raspberry, green apple and chocolate flavours.
The packaging for this product was not biodegradable, but that was something the company was working on, said the spokesman.