What this country needs is a better way to get ketchup out of a bottle

Actually, this could turn out to be a pretty big deal for the packaging industry. But it's not just ketchup. A bunch of MIT mechanical engineers and nano-technologists have been working on a way of coating different kinds of surfaces. From Co Exist: (h/t The Dish)

LiquiGlide, a "super slippery" coating made up of nontoxic materials that can be applied to all sorts of food packaging--though ketchup and mayonnaise bottles might just be the substance's first targets. Condiments may sound like a narrow focus for a group of MIT engineers, but not when you consider the impact it could have on food waste and the packaging industry. "It's funny: Everyone is always like, 'Why bottles? What's the big deal?' But then you tell them the market for bottles--just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market," [says MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith]. "And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year."

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Originally, Smith's team, which has been working for years now on developing various types of surface coatings, was pursuing different aims. "We were really interested in--and still are--using this coating for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields," Smith says. "Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles. It could be great just for its slippery properties. Plus, most of these other applications have a much longer time to market; we realized we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much ready. I mean, it is ready."

More by Mark Lacter:
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Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
 
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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