Drinking Water – The Innovations Keep Coming

Reduction of plastic bottles and removal of plastic waste in our environment is a major target of innovators concerned with the health of our planet. While re-usable plastic or other drinking bottles are increasingly adopted there is still an urgent need for returnable glass drink bottles to make a major impact on the volume of plastic. In some situations it seems there is no alternative to plastic. Large amounts of plastic bottle waste is created at major events such as music festivals, marathons and fun runs when plastic water bottles are dished out for essential oral re-hydration only to be tossed away when empty. Inventors at start-up, Skipping Rocks Lab, at London’s Imperial College have developed a unique solution with their seaweed based edible water pouches. The brown seaweed grows a metre a day in the lab without additional fresh water, so is a sustainable product. The seaweed pouches were trialed at the London Marathon this year along with re-cycling of discarded bottles and use of compostable cups, greatly reducing the amount of plastic waste. Skipping Rocks Lab is also working on eco-friendly alternatives to cling film and the plastic liners used in disposable paper coffee cups.

Skipping Rocks Lab – Ooho! – Crowdcube pitch from Skipping Rocks Lab on Vimeo.

Provenance From Provenir

Provenir is a Victorian based company that is establishing Australia’s first mobile on-farm abattoir and meat processing system. The idea of free range meat is a sound one but when the final stages of a well raised animal is a long and stressful journey on a truck to distant holding pens and a slaughterhouse it does sort of defeat the purpose. The idea of slaughtering on site with further processing at a closer meat processing hub makes lots of sense and given that the number of abattoirs across the nation is shrinking the need for this approach is timely. Provenir also plan to show the provenance of each cut of beef with traceable labeling, so you know where your beef is from. Provenir has already secured $1.4 million in funding for their fully integrated beef supply chain. Crowd funding through Pozible will get you a chance to test a meat pack yourself and help get more mobile units up and running with more farmers across the state this winter. Crowd funding is due to end this Sunday.

Ruby Chocolate By Shocolate

Melbourne family chocolate company, Shocolate, have been making really beautiful chocolates since they established a wholesale business in 2009. Shocolate prefer to say they are creative with couverture and that creativeness extends to the use of a special tangy chocolate derived from ruby cocoa beans, a genuine cocoa variety. Ruby beans have a natural red colour and sour flavour so that the chocolate produced is without any colour or berry flavour additives. It really is a new dimension in chocolate and delicious. Shocolate’s Ruby Royale bar is decorated with pomegranate arils and hibiscus flowers for an exotic touch and added tang. Look for this lovely bar and their other lines from major gourmet food stores around Melbourne. I don’t know if a retail shop is on the horizon but in the meantime check their website for stockists and also look out for their pop-up shops at Easter and Christmas time.

Ruby Cocoa Beans

Schulz Organic Dairy Returnable Milk Bottles

Schulz Organic Dairy have now produced the glass returnable, refundable milk bottle it got crowd funding for. The new glass bottles will replace the old ones introduced to farmers markets to test customer responses and will be rolled out to retail outlets on April 12. At present the list of retail outlets is confined to specialist wholefoods stores and David Jones Food Halls in the CBD and Malvern. It would be great to see the supermarkets (IGA) currently stocking Schulz Organic Dairy milk to also come on board with glass. I hope Schulz’s aim to get rid of plastic milk containers will spur consumers and other producers to reject plastic in favour of returnables. For more information on stockist and FAQs check the Schulz Organic Dairy website.

Schulz Organic Dairy A Glass Act

Koko Black New Australian Flavour

In a brilliant move Koko Black has partnered with chef, Dan Hunter (Brae; ex Royal Mail, Dunkeld) to produce some extraordinary chocolates with a distinctly new Australian flavour. Aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle, macadamia, finger lime, whipstick wattle, spotted gum honey, Davidson plum and the rather surprising, green ant, feature in individual pralines or chocolate bars. This might be viewed purely as a marketing response to Koko Black’s popularity with international tourists but by engaging Dan Hunter and taking a serious exploratory approach the result is delicious chocolates rather than just something gimmicky. The unique flavours of Australia do make these chocolates excellent gifts for friends and relatives from abroad but I really enjoyed them and would also buy them for myself as a special treat. I was particularly impressed with the clean flavours, without overt sweetness. In contrast to the current trend of salt enhanced sweets, Hunter’s salted macadamia chocolate showed restraint, allowing the macadamia nut to take centre stage with just a hint of the savory and the sugar staying well back. Well done Koko Black and the packaging is as elegant as always.

9 piece gift box $29; 80 g block $13.50