2020 Innovation Brings Betterment to Humankind

Posted December 23, 2020 by Alyssa Stahr

Every day at Brightly Creative, it seems, I utter the words, “Huh, learn something new every day.” And, in my daily quest for food and beverage knowledge I truly do. Like the aquafabas and upcycling of years past, 2020 lent itself to verbiage new to my brain like Flammkuchen (German pizza made with a sour cream base), parbaking and breadfruit. 

To take things a step further, new technologies were introduced that made me shake my head with wonder. Robotic delivery truly came to fruition “thanks” to the pandemic, with DoorDash’s fleet and Reese’s Trick-or-Treat Door that delivered the beloved peanut butter and chocolate candy to doorsteps — an ideal creation that mixed social distancing with the happy tradition of trick or treating.

I reported on edible packaging back in July, but non-plastic means of packaging products really took off in the second half of the year. With consumers clamoring for sustainability and bettering our earth, the food and beverage industry did not disappoint in their packaging innovations. In October, Coca-Cola announced a first-generation prototype of a paper shell bottle that will still have a plastic closer and liner, but both are made with 100% recycled plastic. A future goal of the company is to have a completely paper bottle, and with the rapid development of products, I have no doubt that will be here within the next year. 

If it doesn’t, that may not be an issue, as Beverage Daily reported in October that scientists have developed a plastic eating “super enzyme.” It eats plastic up to six times faster than before, and researchers hope to use this in recycling plants and landfills in the near future.

Bacardi also announced the use of 100% biodegradable plastic bottles by 2023, designed with plant-based oils. Food Dive reported that there will be an estimated 80 million plastic bottles eliminated each year once the transition is complete. The new bottles will biodegrade within 18 months “in compost, soil, fresh water and sea water, and do not leave microplastics behind.” Absolut is in the paper bottle prototype phase as well, rolling out bottles in the UK and Sweden in the fall. The second pilot production run is scheduled for spring 2021, according to Beverage Daily. Truly revolutionary for the rum and vodka companies. 

The word that comes to mind when I’m reading about all of these breakthrough innovations is: betterment. Food and beverage companies, I believe, are working hard to better what we put into our bodies and into our planet. It was a tough year for a lot of people, and these bright spots that I read about throughout 2020 gave me hope for the future that companies are truly truly trying to make a difference in our lives, whether that’s through health, happiness or comfort. It’s been a pleasure bringing these trends to your screens this year, and I look forward to another year of idea sharing. 

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