Rethinking Healthcare

An end to your battles with the ketchup bottle

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.

[via Co.Exist]

Photo: Steve A. Johnson/Flickr

Video: Coexist

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Audrey Quinn

Contributing Writer

Audrey Quinn is a Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist focused on health, tech and the economy. Her radio stories can be heard on Marketplace, Studio 360, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Believer Magazine podcast. In addition to her work with CBS Interactive she produces multimedia science stories for online publications and is a teaching assistant at the Transom Story Workshop. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure