Transforming packaging and waste by keeping food fresh for months

Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
24 March 2021
British start-up, SoluBLue, has won half a million euros for its sustainable alternative to plastic and bioplastic food packaging.

Richard Branson has long-supported the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge - one of the world's largest competitions in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship.

Earlier this year SoluBlue was announced as the 2020 competition winner after developing a sustainable alternative to plastic and bioplastic food packaging.

CEO Ayca Dundar and CTO Francis Field, both Co-Founders of SoluBlue, impressed the international jury with their innovative seaweed packaging that can prolong the shelf life of food for up to two years, and biodegrade in a household compost bin within two months. Ayca and Francis received the grand prize of 500,000 euros to help propel the technology further.


Richard Branson has been a member of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Jury multiple times since its inception in 2007. In 2013 he was Chair of the Jury and urged entrepreneurs to take part, saying that: "One smart, creative idea can make a huge difference."

Ayca Dundar said the following about winning the challenge: “Winning Postcode Lottery’s Green Challenge 2020 is an incredible achievement and honour for us. Winning the top prize is not only going to revolutionise our growth plans, but it will provide further confidence to investors that our technology is the future. We’ve proven that our packaging works so now is the time to show the food industry and consumers that SoluBlue can help create a cleaner and greener planet."

Here are some impressive things to know about SoluBlue:

  • The packaging looks and feels like plastic, but is breathable and hydrophilic, absorbing excess moisture from food and preventing mould growth.

  • The packaging extends shelf life and allows food to gradually dry over months, providing a second life for fresh food in cooking or as animal feed.

  • Made from seaweed, the material is bio digestible, making it safe for marine life and able to biodegrade as quickly as the food it contains.

SoluBlue’s technologies are highly scalable, circular and commercialisable, and with this latest endorsement they are hoping to help create a future that is ecologically, ethically, and commercially sound.

SoluBlue packaging
SoluBlue packaging

The runner up in the 2020 challenge was another wonderful British start-up, Jiva Materials, awarded €200,000 for its potential to revolutionise the way we process the fastest growing waste stream in the world, electronic waste.

Applications are now open for the 2021 competition. To learn more about winners from previous years, or to apply to become a winner in 2021, visit the website and take up the challenge.