It may not be one of the most important problems in the world, but for some people, some of the time, getting ketchup to come out of the bottle a little bit faster would rank very high up there. Not only does it waste time, shaking, smacking and thrusting, but it results in waste for many such products as mayonnaise, mustard, jelly and even peanut butter. Now, it appears someone has solved the problem. Researchers from the Varanisi Group have created a bottle coating that allows virtually any liquid type substance to flow quickly from its container. Popular Science says it’s likely to wind up in homes and restaurants around the world very soon, while ABC News says it will like relieve a lot of anger and frustration at the slowness of condiment pouring. Digital Trends says it’s a breakthrough that is long overdue, pointing out that the problem really started when big time food sellers switched from glass bottles to plastic, which slowed down the process dramatically.
The new coating, called LiquiGlide, won second prize in MIT’s annual Entrepreneurship Challenge and won first place as the most popular overall. Small wonder when the collective hours the world over spent struggling with nearly empty ketchup bottles is added up.
The coating, whose makeup the team is keeping secret for obvious reasons, ABC News reports, is a combination between a liquid and a solid, taking the best characteristics of both, PopSci says. And the reason it works is because for such condiments as ketchup, the slowing problem is caused by adhesion between the condiment and the inside of the container. This is why ketchup gets progressively more difficult to get out of the bottle as it grows closer to being empty. Coating the inside of the bottle prevents the ketchup from sticking which means the results users get form tipping the bottle to apply their condiment is very nearly instantaneous.
Digital Trends points out that the potential market for the new coating is huge, with $17 billion spent by bottlers last year alone. If the inventors of the new coating can sell their product to manufacturers, they will likely soon appear on the Fortune 500 list. They point out that the group sees their coating a little more altruistically, suggesting that if every condiment bottle in the world was coated with their new material, nearly a million tons of food would be saved from going to waste, as there would no longer be those little bits left in the bottle when they are tossed in the trash bin.