Any ketchup fan will tell you: Getting that last dollop of the red stuff out of the bottle is a headache – and it normally just ends up in the bin.
But now, a radical new bottle design could spell the end of that problem forever.
The MIT university team came up with LiquiGlide, a ‘super-slippery’ coating which makes the insides of the bottle so frictionless that the sludgy goo inside just slides out like water.
The results are astonishing – and any burger and chips fan out there should prepare to be amazed.
MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith and his team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group spent two months devising a solution.
Burger fan Smith said: ‘We were really interested in – and still are – using this coating for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields.
‘Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles – it could be great just for its slippery properties.
‘Plus, most of these other applications have a much longer time to market – we realised we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much ready. I mean, it is ready, as you can see.
‘We had a limited amount of materials to pick from – I can’t say what they are, but we’ve patented the hell out of it.’
Naturally, the team had to research their market before getting to work.
Smith, who is is pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship, and already holds nine patents, told the FastCo website: ‘It was never really a personal pain point for me, but I do hate struggling to get sauce out of the bottles.
‘I didn’t know about the tapping of the ’57’ until I started looking into this. It was all news to me.
‘We have all types of sauces, jellies, and jams everywhere in our lab – It’s like a closet full of condiments.’
So why did the team pick sauces for their award-winning product?
Dave said: ‘It’s funny: Everyone is always like, “Why bottles? What’s the big deal?”
‘But then you tell them the market for bottles – just the sauces alone is a $17billion market.
‘And 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.’
The secret ingredient to the liquid coating is a heavily-guarded secret, but the team promise it is non-toxic and will be FDA approved.