Are edible bubbles the future of packaged water?

The makers of Ooho edible water bubbles want to replace plastic bottles with squishy, consumable packaging.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
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Water you can bite into.

Skipping Rocks Lab

The marketing video for Ooho edible water bubbles does its job admirably. You want to hold the squishy spheres. You want to bite into them. They look like a lot of fun and a great way to stick it to those ubiquitous plastic water bottles that so often end up in landfills instead of being recycled.

Ooho comes from UK sustainable-packaging startup Skipping Rocks Lab. The Ooho bubble is made from seaweed and is edible and biodegradeable. You tear a hole in the surface and slurp the insides out or just pop it in your mouth, which looks way more entertaining than unscrewing the cap from a plastic bottle.

Current alternatives to plastic water bottles include reusable water bottles and boxed water sold in a milk-carton-like container. Skipping Rocks Lab says its unusual packaging costs less than plastic and can be used for other beverages besides water, including soft drinks and liquor. If you thought Jell-O shots were cool, just wait until you get springy margarita bubbles.

Skipping Rocks is currently raising money through crowdfunding site Crowdcube. So far, it has more than doubled its £400,000 ($500,000, AU$660,000) target funding goal and announced on Thursday it's closing this current round of funding.

Ooho has been in development for years and has already been on sale at special events. The investment move is aimed at bringing the product to a wider audience, first through direct-to-consumer sales at music festivals and marathons, and later "as an ingredient brand selling sustainable packaging materials and associated manufacturing tools to retailers."

As with any crowdfunding project, there's an element of risk, as not all projects deliver on their promises.

Skipping Rocks has the ambitious goal of making plastic water bottles and the waste they generate obsolete. The startup is able to create the Ooho balls in different sizes, but they remain small so each can be consumed in one go. It will be interesting to see if Ooho takes off and consumers are willing to put aside the convenience of their larger plastic bottles in exchange for something more eco-friendly.

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