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A technology enabled reusable food packaging system made from recycled marine plastic

To support and promote the Planetary Health Diet

Infinity Food Vessels is a product and service concept which is intended to address the following United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

#3 - Good health and wellbeing 

#12 - Responsible consumption and production

#13 - Climate action 

#17 - Partnerships for the goals 

Infinity Food Vessels are designed to address marine plastic pollution by manufacturing each food storage vessel with only 100% recycled plastic collected from marine environments.

The concept is to partner with organisations such as Plastic Bank and Waste Free Oceans to source marine plastic. Based in highly polluted areas such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Pacific, these enterprises are creating jobs for locals by commoditising marine plastic pollution and then providing it to manufacturers to fabricate new products.

The innovation behind this scaleable concept is founded on using marine plastic to create reusable food containers that are kept within a circular closed loop system. The concept is intended to raise awareness about sustainability and how we can help improve marine environments around the planet by only using marine plastic in the product design and creating a product that promotes a healthy sustainable diet.  

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The three vessels are designed to promote the adaptation of the 2019 EAT-Lancet Commission “Planetary Health Diet” and provide consumers with a daily quantity of healthy and sustainably sourced food. 

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The Planetary Health Diet graphic has been sourced from the 2019 EAT Lancet Commission Summary Document available here.

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Infinity Food Vessels connects to globally relevant challenges by enabling ways to encourage people to eat healthier while reducing marine plastic pollution.

Healthy People = A Healthy Planet

Each vessel will contain a passive RFID tag for inventory management and a dynamic QR code for consumers to scan and learn about the food and nutrients inside. The vessels are proposed to live within a closed loop system that ensures they are returned, cleaned and reused.  

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Food service partners will be solicited to use the vessels to prepare and sell their version of the "Planetary Health Diet.” Loyalty programs will incentivise consumers to purchase meals and then return the vessels so they can be cleaned and used again. 

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Orgins of Innovation

This innovation was developed by Stratton Hatfield between January & April 2019 as a project within the Sustainability, Entrepreneurship & Design MSc program at Brunel University in London. The concept was designed to create a scaleable product and service that would promote health and wellness and use reclaimed marine plastic. 

Stratton Hatfield

Partners are currently being considered so that an executive team can be created to develop strategy to launch a minimum viable product and prove the concept.

Vision: Healthy planet, healthy people. 

Mission: Deliver an innovative food storage product and service that reduces marine plastic and maximises consumption of healthy food. 

Initial Goals: 

  • Recruit appropriate investors to support development of product and service. 

  • Create a series of innovative products that are made with only 100% recycled marine plastic. 

  • Partner with food service organisations to deploy prepared meal programs in food vessels to implement a circular closed loop system.


TARGET MARKETs

There are two types of customers within this product and service concept, food service partners and retail customers. 

Food Service Partners lease the food storage containers from Infinity Food Vessels.

These customers include grocery stores in the UK such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s as they have the largest market share. They offer varieties of food products and appeal to broad segments of the population, including millennial consumers. Their loyalty programs attract repeat customers and they have systems in place to not only produce prepared meals but to collect and clean the food storage vessels so they can be reused again. Large grocery stores are investigating ways to reduce their waste streams and to lead by example by eliminating single use plastic from their product lines.  By 2025, “Tesco wants all its packaging to be recyclable or compostable and its total packaging weight to be halved compared to 2007”. Sainsbury’s grocery store has “ambitious targets to continue to reduce plastic across their product range and stated that it plans to remove 2,400 tonnes in the next 12 months." 

The product and service combination behind Infinity Food Vessels will provide grocery stores with a reusable food storage system to sell healthy food in. Infinity Food Vessels will  also provide grocery store consumers with an option to eat healthy prepared food from containers that are not disposed of. 

Retail customers use and return the vessels from the food service partners. 

These retail customers are UK millennial consumers including men and women between the ages of 25 and 35 years old. As of 2017, there were approximately 12 million millennials in the UK. They have completed University degrees and work full time jobs earning between £30,000 to £40,000 per year. They are constantly engaged with work or their social lives and find it challenging to eat healthy meals and eat out often.  As they are single or in a relationship with no children, they have more disposable income. They are conscious of Climate Change and have an interest in making changes to their lifestyle to improve their personal health and the planet. Millennial consumers are seeking ways to eat healthier food that is convenient, fresh and good for the planet. They want to spend less time cooking, minimise the amount of waste that they produce and eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging. Value is provided to retail customers because they don’t have to cook their food and can ensure they are eating healthy food in reusable containers made from marine plastic. 

To prove the concept, a minimum viable product is proposed and to be targeted towards the two target markets that have been identified. 

The concept is certainly scaleable and could be trialed with particular grocery stores in large city environments to begin with and then launch it in other parts of the UK.  

Barriers to enter this market include the cost of setting up this product and service offering, recruiting sensible partners that are willing to change company and consumer culture and ensuring that the product is made using only 100% recycled marine plastic.

STRONG MARKET POTENTIAL

Growth trends highlight the increase in consumption of healthy foods and prepared meals in the United Kingdom market. Sales in ethical food and drink products, including organic, fair-trade and free range products rose to £9 Billion in 2015 according to the 2018 Ethical Consumer Markets Report.

There are an assortment of UK companies that offer prepared meals or recipe box delivery programs. Many of these companies are providing healthy food options but none have placed any emphasis on reusable food packaging or creating a system that encourages containers to be returned. 

estimated Impact of innovation on marine plastics…

Since Infinity Food Vessels are intended to be made with 100% recycled marine plastic, there is potential for this innovation to have a great social and environmental impact. The vessels are currently designed to use a total of 0.733 kg of plastic per unit. 

It is estimated that if 100,000 units of the Infinity Food Vessels are made within the first year, that 73.3 metric tonnes of marine plastic could be removed from marine environments. If the company conservatively increases its volume of production by 10% annually over a five year period, it is estimated that 545.46 metric tonnes of marine plastic could be removed from marine environments.  If the company aggressively increases its volume by 50% annually, it is estimated that 966.64 metric tonnes of marine plastic could be removed by the fifth year. 

Ultimately the goal is to prove the concept and scale up the production and distribution of the product and service. Once scaled up and introduced into other markets, there is an opportunity to have a greater impact by using more marine plastic and manufacturing more vessels for different markets. 

If the concept can attract 5% of the 12 million millennials within the UK to use the product and service an estimated 1.95 million vessels could be required (based on users requiring an average of 3.5 vessels each) which would result in over 1,593 metric tonnes of marine plastic being used. 

Are you interested in discussing this concept some more?