Xampla launches consumer brand for plant-based alternative to plastic

Cambridge-based Xampla has today (25 September) launched its consumer-facing brand Morro which creates plant-based alternatives to plastic.

Bioplastics Morro Edible Film
Image credit: Mike Harrington
Like its first product used for plastic-free seed coating – described by Xampla as the ‘world’s first plant protein material for commercial use’ – the bio-based material is made from Supramolecular Engineered Protein (SEP) derived from plants and does not incorporate the chemical additions that traditional plastic alternatives made from plant polysaccharides do.

The plant-based material is a drop-in replacement for single-use plastic which means it can be produced using existing manufacturing equipment across the country.

Items made of Morro materials will feature the ‘Morro marque’. It will also indicate that the item is biodegradable, plastic-free and is able to break down with food waste. Morro materials are also home-compostable and do not need industrial composting to break down.

Applications of Morro’s plant-based alternative to plastic

Based on 15 years of research at the University of Cambridge by Xampla, the materials can be edible and soluble depending on their requirements –  meaning they can be used in applications where the whole product is either cooked or eaten together. For example, Morro’s Edible Film wraps meal kit company Gousto’s stock cubes.

Additionally, Morro materials can package items like vitamins and nutrients within liquids that protect them from UV rays, pasteurisation and changes in pH balance.

Morro Soluble Film and Morro Edible Film can be disposed of alongside food waste. The other products biodegrade completely in all different end-of-life scenarios. For example, they can be dissolved through use (as is the case with laundry pods) without resulting in microplastics or disposed of through traditional recycling routes (for example, Morro Coating which protects paper and cardboard products).

Pete Hutton, Executive Chair at Xampla, said: “Morro will enable brands to make an easy switch away from single-use plastics, and our breakthrough material can do things plastic never could.”

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