For years, Harvard University professor David Edwards has worked to create edible food packaging designed to mimic the way nature creates fruit and vegetables inside edible skins. One of his creations, the WikiPearl, is now available for public consumption.
In 2012, Edwards turned his passion into a company, called WikiFoods. One of his nature-inspired food technologies, WikiPearl, has been a major focus. At a basic level, WikiPearl is a skin—a protective coating for food that prevents contamination and water loss. On the WikiPearl website, there are images of all kinds of foods encased in WikiPearl skins, including ice cream, yogurt, and cheese.
Now, collaborating with Stonyfield Farms, WikiFoods has created a line of frozen yogurt, called Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls, that consists of an edible skin (peach, coconut, or strawberry flavored) surrounding chocolate frozen yogurt.
In an interview with Co.Exist two years ago, Edwards explained his WikiPearl vision: "The notion [of Wikicells] is that you are englobing liquid, foam, or something else in a soft membrane held together by food particles that are being connected by electrostatic charges to each other and to a small amount of natural polymer."
There's just one problem: The Frozen Yogurt Pearls still come inside packaging (cellulose bags made from wood fiber, but still), even though WikiPearls are washable. PSFK points us to a blog post from Stonyfield Farms that addresses the subject:
Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are so ground-breaking stores aren’t yet equipped to sell them completely package-free. Shoppers will be able to buy them either in pre-packed cellulose bags made from wood fiber in the frozen aisle, or over the counter at Wikibars where they can be placed directly in shoppers’ bags, egg cartons or in any container people bring in, for a plastic-free, waste-free treat. Stonyfield and WikiFoods are working with retailers to design package-free solutions for the near future—at that point, frozen yogurt fans will be able to find them in bulk at a fixed station or in a self-service dispenser, free of any unnecessary packaging and waste.
Frozen Yogurt Pearls are currently available at four Whole Foods in Cambridge, Boston, and Lynnfield, Massachusetts.