Retrieving the final globs of ketchup from any Heinz bottle is a painstaking process. You can try and venture in there with a knife, luring out the tomato-ey goodness using nothing but sheer intimidation. You can smack that magical “57” on the side of the bottle, or just violently shake the hunk of fructose-filled glass and pray.
Or, you can use LiquiGlide.
Developed by a team out of MIT — comprised of Dave Smith, Christopher Love, Brian Solomon, Adam Paxson, Rajeev Dhiman and Kripa Varanasi — LiquiGlide is a super slippery, edible coating that allows ketchup and other foods to glide easily out of their bottles.
The team won the $2,000 Audience Choice Award at this year’s MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. And after taking inventory of my fridge, and seeing all the remnants of condiments I have, just stuck clinging to the bottom of bottles, I give them my own Audience Choice Award.
Although condiments may sound like a narrow focus, the team claims just the sauces alone is a $17 billion market. As Smith told Fast Company, “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.”
Here’s a look at what actually happens when you pour ketchup out of a bottle coated with LiquiGlide, courtesy of Fast Company.
LiquiGlide can be used with different types of packaging, whether it be glass or plastic, and can be applied just by spraying the coating onto the inside of bottles. One of the biggest challenges for the team was gaining FDA approval. “We had a limited amount of materials to pick from,” Smith told Fast Company. “I can’t say what they are, but we’ve patented the hell out of it.”
If the ketchup wasn’t enough to win you over, here’s mayonnaise coming out of a LiquiGlide-coated bottle, and then a normal bottle.
The team will be working out of the MIT Founders’ Skills Accelerator this summer, so let’s hope LiquiGlide comes to a shelf near us soon.