By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Food
A new glass coating helps ketchup glide out of the bottle, putting the kibosh on waste and frustration.
What's your favorite strategy for getting ketchup out of the bottle? Do you do that trick of hitting the "57" with the heel of your palm? Do you grab a utensil and probe it up into the bottle? Or, have you forgone glass ketchup bottles altogether in favor of squeezable plastic containers?
No matter what your choice, you're probably still expending more effort than you'd care to devote to dispensing a condiment. And, you're likely still left with a fair amount of wasted Heinz when you finish the bottle.
MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith has a solution for you, Co.Exist reports. He's developed a food-safe super slippery coating that can be applied to the inside of food packaging, allowing condiments to slide right out of the bottle.
Smith calls his product LiquiGlide. Co.Exist's Austin Carr explains:
As Smith describes it, LiquiGlide is a surface that’s unique because it’s "kind of a structured liquid--it’s rigid like a solid, but it’s lubricated like a liquid." It works with many types of packaging--glass, plastic--and can be applied in any number of ways, including spraying the coating onto the inside of bottles. Now, thick sauces that would normally move like sludge seem to just fall out of LiquiGlide-coated bottles, as if they were suspended in space. "It just floats right onto the sandwich," Smith says.
Here's a video demonstration:
LiquiGlide came in 2nd place in MIT’s $100k Entrepreneurship Competition. Smith is currently discussing his product with a number of bottle companies, though a similar coating that debuted last fall has yet to be seen on shelves.
Smith says that if all condiment bottles used his coating, we could save about one million tons of wasted food a year.
Now all Smith needs to do is figure out a way to get that last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.
Photo: Steve A. Johnson/Flickr
May 22, 2012
"we could save about one million tons of wasted food a year." True, but that also represents one million tons of lost sales for the food manufacturers. If they cared about allowing their customers to get every last little bit out of a bottle or jar, they'd eliminate the "shoulders" where the stuff always gets trapped. Plus, LiquiGlide will presumably add a little to the cost of each bottle. Can't be free. So: Lost sales, increased costs. To me, that adds up to another great idea sunk by the profit motive.
Okay, let's start a list of opportunities this might unclog ...err... open up. If it works with ketchup, how about mayonnaise? Maple syrup? Soup? Elmers glue? Paint? Is this stuff sensitive to heat? Could we coat the inside of a coffee filter holder, and maybe even the coffee pot itself, so those old coffee oils just "slide right off"?? What chemicals DOES this stuff react to? Can we use it to coat the inside of pipes, maybe so hair etc doesn't clog up the bathroom sink? Can we apply it to the inside of the toilet, and around the edge of the bathtub? Here and I thought RainX was as good as it gets! Better living through controlled surface technology!
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Ketchup is thixotropic (look up Thixotropy on wikipedia). It liquifies when shaken or jarred. So, if you thump the bottom of the bottle, it liquifies there -- far from the open end. Knock the end of the bottle, just behind the opening, with the heel of your hand and the ketchup will flow.