Xampla launches microcapsule technology as poll shows young consumers lack Vitamin D

UK technology company Xampla has launched its breakthrough vitamin microcapsule product to market, enabling brands to micropackage vitamins within beverages without the risk of degradation during transit or storage.

The announcement comes as polling of 4,000 UK adults by Yonder, commissioned by Xampla, reveals young people are among the most concerned with health and wellbeing with half of 18-35 year olds saying they do not get enough Vitamin D in their diets, as opposed to just 25% of 65+ year olds.

Xampla’s natural technology wraps a microscopic droplet of vitamin oil in plant-based material to guard the vitamin, such as Vitamin D, from UV light, pH imbalance, and pasteurisation.  This enables brands to add Vitamin D-led health claims to a wide range of beverage products, including those shipped in clear liquids and clear bottles.

The Cambridge-based company’s vitamin microcapsules increase the volume of effective vitamins without affecting the taste of the product.  Consumers will be able to get more nutritional value out of the beverages they already enjoy, from the brands they already know and trust. The technology can be used to package any oil-based vitamin or flavouring, including Vitamin A, D, E or K. 

Previously, brands either relied on costly ‘overage’ of vitamins and nutrients, accepting that the ingredients would deteriorate during the products lifetime, or simply would not add vitamins at all. Xampla’s technology presents a new opportunity for brands to increase vitamin content of their product line, in a 100% digestible, vegan, and gluten-free form.

Products that support a healthy lifestyle are a significant trend in the industry, with a third of consumers (33%) choosing drinks containing vitamins over those that do not.

As we approach the colder months, 69% of the British public are looking to guard against winter colds, flu and Covid by taking extra vitamins and nearly three in five (57%) say they prefer to increase their vitamin intake through food and drink products.   The company’s consumer survey also shows that 69% of parents consider the vitamin content of food and drink they give to their children.

Xampla announced a partnership with global drinks manufacturer Britvic earlier this year to develop new innovations for the drinks industry. Its vitamin microcapsules are a drop-in solution and fit seamlessly with existing industry manufacturing processes

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “Xampla’s microcapsules offer an opportunity for big beverage brands to get the vitamins people need directly to them inside everyday products.

“The trend for benefit-led products has been steadily growing over the last ten years.  Young people and parents are particularly concerned with the health and wellbeing properties of their products, particularly in the post-Covid context and as we approach the colder months.

“Our vitamin microcapsule provides a much needed, simple solution for brands to micropackage Vitamin D safely in clear bottles, and the potential to micropackage a whole range of other nutrients in future. We are working with multi-nationals to bring this product to supermarket shelves.”

Xampla named in green tech firm top 50

Creator of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, has been named among the top-50 green tech companies in Britain. 

Following a public vote among readers of BusinessCloud, and an assessment by independent judges, the inventor of the world’s first natural plant protein polymer features in the prestigious Envirotech 50 ranking.

The inaugural list celebrates the UK’s most innovative start-ups, scale-ups and established firms creating technology to protect the environment and promote sustainability.

Based on 15 years of research at the University of Cambridge, Xampla is pioneering a natural plastic substitute, made from plant proteins, as a like-for-like replacement for traditional plastic in commercial use.   With no other chemical changes made to its plant-based materials, Xampla’s products biodegrade safely at the end of life, leaving nothing behind.  

Committed to replace the most polluting single-use plastics, Xampla’s plant-protein technology has applications in flexible films, microcapsules and coatings and has already launched to market in partnership with global brands, including Britvic and Gousto.

From a shortlist of 93 firms, Xampla placed 27th out of 50. The panel of judges included Craig Melson, Associate Director for Climate, Environment and Sustainability at TechUK, David Pugh, Head of Sustainability at Digital Catapult and Lubomila Jordanova, Co-Founder of GreenTech Alliance.

CEO of Xampla, the first UK University spin-out to be awarded B Corp status, Simon Hombersley said:

“It is an honour to be named as one of the UK’s most innovative green technology firms. Receiving accreditation from the industry is a huge boost in our efforts to bring pioneering invention to life.

“The last two years have been a period of exponential growth for Xampla. From working with global brands to developing world first products using our sustainable and natural alternative to single-use plastic, to doubling our expert team over the past year, we have not stopped.”

Jonathan Symcox, editor of BusinessCloud said: “Our inaugural EnviroTech 50 ranking is the latest in our innovation series across sectors and a showcase for companies with truly ground-breaking solutions to protect the environment and boost sustainability.

“It’s a privilege to shine a light on so many admirable companies.” For more information on BusinessCloud’s ranking, visit: https://businesscloud.co.uk/envirotech-50-uks-most-innovative-green-technology-creators-for-2022

New hires see industry experience grow at Xampla

Creator of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, this week welcomes Sabina Burmester as Head of Engineering and Scott Thompson as Head of R&D.  The duo of expert hires comes as part of Xampla’s growth strategy, with a marked scale up of operations through 2022.

Sabina and Scott join seven other new hires who have started at Xampla since January, with the team growing by 95% over the last year alone. 

Sabina Burmester brings nearly 30 years of experience working on the development and manufacturing of innovative materials for commercial goods and has led teams in various industries, including FMCG.

Sabinajoins Xampla from Johnson Matthey, Clean Air. Working as Senior Chemical Engineer Innovation Specialist Sabina collaborated with experts to deliver a global project for the Clean Air Sector and is the co-inventor of multiple patent applications for innovative processes and equipment. The main areas include novel processes and equipment to improve product microstructure and improve ingredient functionality; process efficiency; and creating novel product architectures.

Scott Thompson joins Xampla from his role as Head of Supercapacitor Development at Superdielectrics, a technology start-up, where he worked closely with the CEO to lead the research and development of novel technology. Prior to this, Scott led a team developing new thermosetting polymer formations at Hexcel Composites.

In his new role as Head of R&D, Scott will work closely with Marc Rodriguez Garcia, CTO of Xampla, and the team of scientists to develop further applications for its pioneering natural alternative to plastic made from plant proteins.

Burmester and Thompson’s appointments follow the addition last year of Katrina Curl as Head of Marketing and Communications.  Curl brings more than a decade’s creative and communications experience from the UK’s top agencies, working with household names in FMCG and tech including Unilever, Britvic and Canon.

Xampla is also preparing itself for a growing order book with the launch of a new laboratory in January, which is helping the team maximise productivity and accelerate the research and development of new plastic-alternative technologies.

Following 15 years of research at The University of Cambridge, the certified B-Corp company has created a natural and biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic.

Xampla’s plant-protein technology has applications in flexible films, microcapsules and coatings and has already launched to market in partnership with global brands, including Britvic and Gousto.

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “Xampla has continued to grow from strength to strength.  We are truly excited to welcome Sabina and Scott, who bring with them a wealth of industry knowledge and experience to add to the wide range of expertise within the company.

“As we continue to work with leading global brands to bring our technology to supermarket shelves, having the very best talent in the industry is key to our continued success. With our full management team in place, Xampla’s people are all united by the same commitment to turn the tide on plastic pollution.  We know Sabina and Scott will play a central part in that mission.”

New Head of Engineering, Sabina Burmester, said: “Xampla is a dynamic and effective team which collaborates with global experts in specialised scientific and technological fields to develop truly ground-breaking new products and processes.  I am looking forward to exploring even more potential applications for this natural alternative to single-use plastic, and to working with the team to scale-up from lab tests to manufacturing.”

A solution to plastic pollution? A plastic that doesn’t pollute, writes Simon Hombersley on Business Green

Writing on environmental news website, Business Green, Xampla CEO Simon Hombersley argues that the UN process for developing a global plastics treaty is at risk of getting hijacked by those who regard recycling as the starting point in the battle against plastic pollution.

“If the plastics treaty enshrines the status quo as a global norm, it will fail in its own objectives,” he writes. “The only solution to plastic pollution is a plastic that doesn’t pollute.”

XAMPLA ANNOUNCED AS FINALIST FOR TOM FORD PLASTIC INNOVATION PRIZE

Creator of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, has today been announced as a finalist for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize after being given a vote of confidence from global investors.

Senior figures from Encourage Capital, Sky Ocean Ventures, North Equity LLC, ALG Investment Management were amongst the judging panel that chose Xampla from 170 global competitors to be shortlisted after a highly competitive two-year process.

The award recognises world-leading innovators, creating next generation, sustainable alternatives to flexible film plastic that are truly sustainable and scalable by 2025. The potential for this material will now be tested with global fashion and technology customers, such as Dell.

As a University of Cambridge spin-out, Xampla has spent 15 years researching and pioneering the world’s first plant protein polymer for commercial use.   With no other chemical changes made to its plant-based materials, Xampla’s products biodegrade safely at the end of life, leaving nothing behind.

The applications for this technology have the potential to replace plastic across a range of industries, including in food and beverages, the home cleaning products industry and now technology and fashion.

Xampla’s technology has already entered the market through partnerships with leading global brands including meal kit retailer Gousto and soft drinks manufacturer Britvic.  Former White House Climate Change Advisor, Jeff Seabright, joined the firm as Chair in 2020.

The Plastic Innovation Prize was first launched in 2019 by global fashion designer Tom Ford, in partnership with 52HZ,  to identify and support organisations advancing truly biologically degradable plastic alternatives.

The prize winner, to be chosen from the eight finalists and announced in 2023, will receive $1.2 million as well as three years of financial and advisory support. 

As a finalist, Xampla will now focus on how its industry-leading plant-protein material can be applied to single-use polybags.  Over 300 billion polybags, single-use resealable sandwich bags and storage bags are used globally every year.  These products are almost impossible to recycle and end up in landfill, incineration or the natural environment.

Plastic films are estimated to make up five million metric tons of ocean plastic leakage accounting for 46% of the total.

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “Our material is the result of 15 years of research, bringing together the very best minds in science to create a truly sustainable alternative to single use plastic. We have already brought our innovation to market with global brands such as Gousto and Britvic and the support we have been shown by the team of judges and investors is evidence of the potential of our material to address global pollution. We can’t wait to get started working with Tom Ford’s team.”

Jeff Seabright, former White House Climate Change Adviser and Chair of Xampla, said: “With 175 countries committed to developing a UN plastic pollution treaty by 2024, turning off the plastic tap is now firmly on the global agenda. Alternative materials that naturally biodegrade are key, and we believe Xampla offers a better by design alternative. A key criterion for the Tom Ford judges is how well and how completely the material biodegrades, making this a very welcome endorsement for our technology.  

“We are looking forward to working together with Tom Ford and the team over the coming year, as Xampla partners with leading brands to innovate in the world of fashion and technology as we have already in food and drink.”

Xampla wins Best New Business at World Food Innovation Awards

Creator of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, has been announced as the winner of Best New Business at the eighth annual World Food Innovation Awards.

The World Food Innovation Awards, in partnership with IFE, celebrate the most ambitious developments in the food and beverage industry over the last 12 months. The judging panel, including senior figures from Selfridges, JourneyFoods and Mission Ventures, considered entries from over 22 countries before choosing final winners across 25 categories.

Xampla secured the Best New Business award in recognition of its growth since 2020, bringing its breakthrough material to market with global brands including soft drinks manufacturer Britvic. In 2021, Xampla partnered with meal kit retailer Gousto to create the world’s first edible stock cube wrapper.

Xampla was also a finalist in two further two categories, Best Technology Innovation and Best Ingredient Innovation, in recognition of its edible film and nutrient microcapsule technology.

As a University of Cambridge spin-out, Xampla has spent 15 years researching and pioneering the world’s first plant protein polymer for commercial use.  Xampla is committed to replacing the most polluting single-use plastics as well as hidden plastics, such as microplastics within laundry products and is the first UK University spin-out to be awarded B Corp status.

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “Over the past two years, Xampla has seen exponential growth, working with global brands to develop world first products using our sustainable and natural alternative to single-use plastic. Earlier this year we announced the opening of our second lab in Cambridge and with this Best New Business award under our belt, we are looking forward to further developing our innovation over the next 12 months with more partnerships to come.”

Xampla shortlisted for the Go:Tech Awards 2022

Xampla is thrilled to announce that it has been named as a finalist for the Sustainable Tech Business Award at Business Leader’s Go:Tech Awards 2022.

The judging panel considered hundreds of entries before narrowing down the finalists who represent the UK’s top technology pioneers and innovators. Xampla has been shortlisted in recognition of our breakthrough plant protein polymer that functions as a completely natural alternative to single-use plastic and our international team of industry experts and scientists.

Britvic announces £1m packaging innovation partnership with University of Cambridge-backed deep tech company Xampla

Britvic is partnering with Xampla as part of its Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy

Leading branded soft drinks business, Britvic is joining forces with University of Cambridge-backed tech company Xampla in a £1m packaging innovation partnership.

After 15 years of Cambridge research, Xampla has developed the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. This revolutionary material uses pea protein to make microscopic capsules that protect vitamins within liquid, stopping them from being broken down by sunlight.

Xampla’s work has seen the company secure £1million in funding from the UK Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to scale up the technology and material processing.

The innovation is critical to delivering drinks fortified with vitamins in clear plastic bottles. Clear plastic bottles are considered a positive by consumers, with Britvic’s research showing that people are 40% more likely to recycle clear bottles over coloured ones. However, the downside of clear bottles is that they let more UV rays in, losing the necessary protection for vitamin D.

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said:“We are delighted to be partnering with Britvic to deliver innovation that will revolutionise the drinks industry and it is extremely exciting to see what our material can do at scale. Xampla works with businesses to help solve their biggest problems while also enabling customers to meet their sustainability goals. 

“Britvic has a proud history of fortifying its products with vitamins and seeking sustainability in its packaging. Our partnership is about helping to do both even more effectively. We can’t wait to get started.”

Last year, major Britvic brands Fruit Shoot and 7UP made the shift to clear bottles to drive up recycling rates and Britvic has started to add vitamins B, C and D to Robinsons Fruit & Barley.

Meanwhile, leading Irish squash brand MiWadi 0% Sugar contains vitamins B, D and zinc and children’s favourite Fruit Shoot has been fortified with multivitamins since 2016. Added vitamins C and D help support the immune system and the growth of strong bones, while B vitamins contribute to energy release.

Sarah Webster, Director of Sustainable Business at Britvic, said: “Our work with Xampla supports our Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy. 

“By agreeing this £1m partnership with each other, we have shown the power of collaboration between established players and cutting-edge innovators to deliver Healthier People and Healthier Planet.

“Xampla technology has the makings of a ‘win-win’, enabling delivery of greater nutritional value in the drinks people love, while ensuring that more products can come to market in clear, recyclable bottles.”

Britvic has a long history of fortifying drinks with vitamins. The FTSE 250 company started life in 1845 as The British Vitamin Product Company, with a mission to provide customers with an affordable source of nutrition. The company is committed to a programme to reduce unnecessary plastic and is working with Xampla through an Innovate UK-backed grant to develop new formats for delivery of soft drinks and nutrients within drinks.

News of the Britvic partnership follows a successful Xampla world first product launch with meal kit manufacturer Gousto last year, where Xampla created an edible film to be used as wrapping for stock cubes. The trial kits – for making an Indian Spiced Carrot & Lentil soup recipe – sold out within one hour of going on sale.

Xampla partners with Croda in UK government-backed trial of microplastic-free seed coatings

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY-backed Xampla has launched a partnership with Croda International Plc, the multinational company which uses smart science to create high performance ingredients and technologies that improve livesTM

Xampla scientists are collaborating with Croda International to trial a completely natural replacement for plastic

The alliance will bring natural replacements for microplastics to the seed coating industry through a £640,000 project trial of Xampla’s plastic-free seed coatings, backed by the UK government and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). 

Seed coatings are used in agriculture to protect seeds from pests and diseases and increase germination, helping increase crop yield with minimal use of additional plant protection products. However, some seed coatings rely on petroleum-derived polymers, which are not fully degradable in agricultural soils.  This innovative trial will see the development of next generation microplastic-free seed coatings that are fully biodegradable.

Through its Seed Enhancement specialists Incotec, Croda has already established itself as an industry leader in rolling out microplastic-free replacements for traditional seed coatings, including sunflower, corn, and vegetable seeds.  Their partnership with Xampla now paves the way for completely natural, coatings that leave no residue and disappear without trace as seeds grow.

This collaboration also takes Croda one step closer to achieving its ambition to be Land Positive, specifically enhancing the company’s focus on using crop science innovation to support crop and seed enhancement to mitigate the impact of a changing climate and land degradation.

Expected to take a year to complete, the trial will see Xampla’s technology protect and enhance soil health.  Xampla-coated seeds will give farmers all the productivity benefits associated with seed coatings without the risks of microplastic pollution. 

The partnership will also help future-proof the seed coating industry, by offering a solution which is compliant with a microplastic ban across Europe, proposed by the European Chemicals Agency, which – if adopted – will be introduced by 2027. 

Chaired by Bill Clinton’s White House Climate Change Adviser, Jeff Seabright, and run by leading tech entrepreneur Simon Hombersley, Xampla is producing a wide-range of plant protein-based products to replace conventional plastics.

Beyond the seed coating industry, their natural polymer technology can be used to replace non-recyclable thin plastic films, as a substitute for microcapsules containing scent in fabric softeners, shower gels and soaps, to encapsulate nutrients such as Vitamin D in beverages, and to replace the polluting ‘soluble’ wrappings used on dishwasher tablets.  

Xampla Chief Executive Simon Hombersley said:

“Working with Croda International is an enormous opportunity to show how we can deploy our entirely natural replacement for traditional seed coatings that often contain microplastics. 

“Croda has been working on this problem for some years, seeking to reduce the impact of microplastic on agricultural soils, and not without success.  It is by working with big hitters of this kind that we can really move the market and bring about change quickly.”

Erik-Jan Bartels, Managing Director of the Incotec Seed Enhancement business at Croda International plc added,

“We are excited to be working with Xampla on this development.  Our Purpose is to use Smart science to improve livesTM, and this project does exactly that. 

“Microplastics in agriculture in total account for 10% of the world’s microplastics problem, and within that seed coatings account for 1% but that makes it no less important to change the industry, as we have been doing now for some time. 

“Seed coatings are a high-growth part of our business and we are determined that growth should come from sustainable, plant-based alternatives.”  


Xampla opens new lab as company expands commercial and technical teams

CREATOR of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, has expanded its expert team with the addition of seven new hires and has opened a new Cambridge laboratory.

Left to right: Edyta Marek, James Ravenscroft, Audrey Caspar, Brett Harding, Sonia Tedeku and Huafu Wang

Xampla acquired the additional lab in early November 2021 to enable each of its new customer projects to expand in a dedicated space, and to increase capacity for its team of cutting edge scientists.

The facility features specialist analytical equipment for further developing Xampla’s world-first plant protein-based films, and for creating film products in applications such as dishwasher tablets.   

Xampla’s plant protein-based material has been developed through more than 15 years’ research at the University of Cambridge.  The certified B-Corp has created a world-first “natural polymer” material – a flexible, strong, edible replacement for single-use plastic. 

Audrey Caspar, a Polymer Chemist, joins Xampla after more than three years at Unilever where she managed technical workstreams for Cornetto ice-creams including packaging, formulation and process design. An expert in developing consumer facing products and claims, Audrey will lead on the planning, design and execution of Xampla’s food ingredient R&D projects as Product Development Manager.  She gained her MSci in Chemistry Engineering and Polymer Chemistry at the University Lyon in 2012.

Huafu Wang joins Xampla as Senior Analytical Chemist from his role as a Technical Consultant at Reading Scientific Services.  He has worked across the food and beverage, FMCG and environmental industries.  Huafu leads the use of the gas chromatography equipment for fragrance analysis and leads Xampla’s fragrance microcapsule stability studies.  He also supports the team with sensory performance testing.

Brett Harding moves from Hexcel, where he supported new product development for epoxy adhesives and resin systems.  As Application Scientist at Xampla, Harding will be  responsible for supporting the Research and Development team in creating natural polymer resins for the company’s pioneering seed coatings project.

Xampla also expands its commercial team with the hire of Sonia Tedeku as Marketing and Communications Manager to support the firm as it launches new products.  Sonia moves after three years at Cambridge Commodities, where she worked within the food and beverage industry on bringing a range of Vitamin formulations and blends to market.  She joins Head of Marketing and Communications, Katrina Curl, who started with Xampla last year and brings extensive experience from leading London agencies at setting strategies for major brands including Unilever, Britvic and Canon.

Edyta Marek joins as Senior Administrator with a wealth of experience supporting teams. Phoebe Williams and James Ravenscroft join the lab team as a Research Assistant and Project Assistant respectively.

With these new appointments, Xampla’s expert team has grown from its first appointment in 2020 to 27 employees today.

Simon Hombersley, CEO at Xampla, said “As our amazing team grows so does our business.  By working directly with big household brands, we expect to see Xampla’s technology in the hands of more and more consumers this year.

“Everyone at Xampla is bound together by a common commitment to make a plastic that doesn’t pollute:  one that can be grown from local feedstocks, used locally and composted back to soil locally.  We are making that dream a reality every day.”