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Xampla: Edible & Biodegradable Plant Protein Packaging to Replace the Most Polluting Plastics 

UK University of Cambridge spin-off startup Xampla develops natural, vegan, edible films, sachets, microcapsules, and coatings to help companies transition…



UK University of Cambridge spin-off startup Xampla develops natural, vegan, edible films, sachets, microcapsules, and coatings to help companies transition from single-use plastic to biodegradable packaging.

After 15 years of research, the company has developed a “world-class” technology that uses plant protein or sustainable feedstocks to create drop-in, high-performance plastic replacements. Xampla claims its plant packaging provides protection and extends the shelf-life of ingredients and products.  

Since the process does not involve chemical modification, the company’s materials can biodegrade entirely without interfering with recycling waste streams and are compatible with home or industrial compost.

“Our technology is a world-first, capable of replacing the most polluting plastics at scale and delivering performance parity. At the end of their life, our materials can even be ‘bio-assimilated’ as food for microorganisms in the soil, effectively turning packaging into fertiliser,” explains the company.

© Xampla

The world’s first edible packaging

Xampa’s technology can use various raw materials, including legumes and agricultural waste, to develop this “new class” of materials. However, the company’s first materials were developed using vegan spider silk and plant protein.

In 2021, in collaboration with UK meal kit retailer Gousto, Xampla introduced what it claims to be the world’s first vegan, edible, stock-cube wrapper made from pea protein. The film was used for packaging the retailer’s Indian Spiced Carrot & Lentil soup. The meal kits were sold in hours since customers were eager to experience cooking and eating the packaging of a product, explains Xampla. After this trial, Xampla and Gousto won the SEAL Business Sustainability Awards 2022 and have recently been selected as finalists in the Global Good Awards 2023.

Microcapsules for vitamins
© Kampala

Plant-based microcapsules

Another pea protein innovation is Xampla’s plant-based microcapsule that guards vitamins against UV light, pH imbalance, and pasteurisation. This revolutionary material protects Vitamin D, even in clear bottles, allowing brands to add vitamins without the risk of degradation during transit or storage. In August 2022, Xampla partnered with beverages manufacturer Britvic to develop innovative drinks fortified with vitamins.

The UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, granted Xampla £1 million in funding to scale its technology and material processing, reports Bioplastics Magazine. Recently, Xampla was selected among the world’s 100 most promising global cleantech companies in the 2023 Global Cleantech 100. 

“We are honoured to be recognised as one of 100 leading companies across the world that is pioneering innovation to solve tomorrow’s technology challenges. We are committed to scaling up our world-first technology, by providing drop-in, high performance, natural replacements for the most polluting plastics,” said Pete Hutton, Executive Chair of Xampla.

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