Reading a – PackWorld article about octopus-inspired robotic gripper technology that enables picking and packing of various delicate produce without changeover or reprogramming – reminded me of a presentation delivered by GE. In this presentation, GE communicated their goal of mimicking a hummingbird’s efficient burn of sugared fuel to inspire innovation within their aviation division.
Many companies are innovating via Biomimicry. According to Biomimcry.org, this is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.
For example, GM European Opel brand designed bionic car which is structurally supported by a minimum amount of material based on similar structures found in nature. Mercedes is another auto company, which found design inspiration from a boxfish.
CPG companies too are already experimenting with nature inspired packaging. Chitin is the exoskeleton material found in nature which provides resilient, waterproof, and colorful exteriors to creatures like shrimp. It has already been part of food packaging experiments aiming to keep food fresher and packaging more environmentally friendly.
Michael Pawlyn, a British architect noted for his work in the field biomimetic architecture and innovation, once said that nature is, “…like a catalog of products, and all of those have benefited from a 3.8 billion year research and development period. And given that level of investment, it makes sense to use it.”
That appears to be exactly what many industries are doing, including the CPG industry. Who knows…perhaps in the future, we’ll be using packaging machinery made from materials including spider silk.