Xampla is thrilled to announce that it has been named as a finalist for the Sustainable Tech Business Award at Business Leader’s Go:Tech Awards 2022.
The judging panel considered hundreds of entries before narrowing down the finalists who represent the UK’s top technology pioneers and innovators. Xampla has been shortlisted in recognition of our breakthrough plant protein polymer that functions as a completely natural alternative to single-use plastic and our international team of industry experts and scientists.
Leading branded soft drinks business, Britvic is joining forces with University of Cambridge-backed tech company Xampla in a £1m packaging innovation partnership.
After 15 years of Cambridge research, Xampla has developed the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. This revolutionary 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 £1million in funding from the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to scale up the technology and material processing.
The innovation is critical to delivering drinks fortified with vitamins in clear plastic bottles. Clear plastic bottles are considered a positive by consumers, with Britvic’s research showing that 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, said:“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.”
Meanwhile, leading Irish squash brand MiWadi 0% Sugar contains vitamins B, D and zinc and children’s favourite Fruit Shoot has been fortified with multivitamins since 2016. Added vitamins C and D help support the immune system and the growth of strong bones, while B vitamins contribute to energy release.
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.”
Britvic has a long history of fortifying drinks with vitamins. The FTSE 250 company started life in 1845 as The British Vitamin Product Company, with a mission to provide customers with an affordable source of nutrition. The company is committed to a programme to reduce unnecessary plastic and is working with Xampla through an Innovate UK-backed grant to develop new formats for delivery of soft drinks and nutrients within drinks.
News of the Britvic partnership follows a successful Xampla world first product launch with meal kit manufacturer Gousto last year, where Xampla created an edible film to be used as wrapping for stock cubes. The trial kits – for making an Indian Spiced Carrot & Lentil soup recipe – sold out within one hour of going on sale.
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY-backed Xampla has launched a partnership with Croda International Plc, the multinational company which uses smart science to create high performance ingredients and technologies that improve livesTM.
The alliance will bring natural replacements for microplastics to the seed coating industry through a £640,000 project trial of Xampla’s plastic-free seed coatings, backed by the UK government and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB).
Seed coatings are used in agriculture to protect seeds from pests and diseases and increase germination, helping increase crop yield with minimal use of additional plant protection products. However, some seed coatings rely on petroleum-derived polymers, which are not fully degradable in agricultural soils. This innovative trial will see the development of next generation microplastic-free seed coatings that are fully biodegradable.
Through its Seed Enhancement specialists Incotec, Croda has already established itself as an industry leader in rolling out microplastic-free replacements for traditional seed coatings, including sunflower, corn, and vegetable seeds. Their partnership with Xampla now paves the way for completely natural, coatings that leave no residue and disappear without trace as seeds grow.
This collaboration also takes Croda one step closer to achieving its ambition to be Land Positive, specifically enhancing the company’s focus on using crop science innovation to support crop and seed enhancement to mitigate the impact of a changing climate and land degradation.
Expected to take a year to complete, the trial will see Xampla’s technology protect and enhance soil health. Xampla-coated seeds will give farmers all the productivity benefits associated with seed coatings without the risks of microplastic pollution.
The partnership will also help future-proof the seed coating industry, by offering a solution which is compliant with a microplastic ban across Europe, proposed by the European Chemicals Agency, which – if adopted – will be introduced by 2027.
Chaired by Bill Clinton’s White House Climate Change Adviser, Jeff Seabright, and run by leading tech entrepreneur Simon Hombersley, Xampla is producing a wide-range of plant protein-based products to replace conventional plastics.
Beyond the seed coating industry, their natural polymer technology can be used to replace non-recyclable thin plastic films, as a substitute for microcapsules containing scent in fabric softeners, shower gels and soaps, to encapsulate nutrients such as Vitamin D in beverages, and to replace the polluting ‘soluble’ wrappings used on dishwasher tablets.
Xampla Chief Executive Simon Hombersley said:
“Working with Croda International is an enormous opportunity to show how we can deploy our entirely natural replacement for traditional seed coatings that often contain microplastics.
“Croda has been working on this problem for some years, seeking to reduce the impact of microplastic on agricultural soils, and not without success. It is by working with big hitters of this kind that we can really move the market and bring about change quickly.”
Erik-Jan Bartels, Managing Director of the Incotec Seed Enhancement business at Croda International plc added,
“We are excited to be working with Xampla on this development. Our Purpose is to use Smart science to improve livesTM, and this project does exactly that.
“Microplastics in agriculture in total account for 10% of the world’s microplastics problem, and within that seed coatings account for 1% but that makes it no less important to change the industry, as we have been doing now for some time.
“Seed coatings are a high-growth part of our business and we are determined that growth should come from sustainable, plant-based alternatives.”