While the Microsoft Xbox is familiar to video game enthusiasts worldwide, inventor Luis Burgos of Spain wants XBRIK packaging for dry cereals and other food products to become similarly renowned in packaging circles. After spending the past 10 years developing the concept, Burgos is taking the next step forward in this outreach to the US.
Burgos claims the patented, bag-less Xbrik packaging “could eliminate 60 to 70% of all plastic bags worldwide” that are used for numerous cereal, snack, and other free-flowing products.
The Xbrik is essentially a highly functional box that offers the following features:
- It’s applicable for solid food, animal, or chemical products.
- It is laminated, compostable, and offers barrier protection.
- It is 40% cheaper to manufacture than a traditional cereal box.
- It can maintain a nitrogen barrier between three and three-and-a-half months.
- It is 25% more compact than a traditional cereal box and offers a 12.5% reduction in material savings.
In detail, the Xbrik is composed of three principle layers, two of which are ultra-thin polypropylene sheets that in the future will be replaced by a sustainable, plant-derived polymer, Burgos tells Packaging Digest.
Those sheets are laminated as the protective barrier layers surrounding an inner layer of a "cardboard"-like material derived from organic material. This inner layer will be made from sugarcane, will be 100% compostable ,and will fertilize new plant growth to support new packaging sources.
In other words, it's a sustainable model of packaging aligned with a circular economy.
“It is the second-best container in the world,” asserts Burgos, acknowledging the Tetra Brick invented decades ago by Ruben Rausing remains the gold standard. He responds to Packaging Digest’s additional questions in this exclusive interview.
What sparked the idea?
Burgos: A great desire in me to contribute in a remarkable way to improve the environment in all the countries of the world, helping the new generations of children and young people. This is how my Xbrik container was born, the first container that can eliminate plastic bags that are so harmful, especially in the world's oceans.
For what products / markets is it appropriate?
Burgos: For all solid food products such as cereals, pasta, rice, legumes, nuts, and more.
For pet food including cats, dogs, birds, and other animals.
It is also appropriate for consumer chemicals such as powdered soaps, dishwasher soap, cat litter, plant fertilizer, and more.
Is there a priority for these markets?
Burgos: First breakfast cereals, second pet food, third dried fruit, and fourth powdered soaps.
What makes it better than other options?
Burgos: The Xbrik works perfectly with 99% of all solid products, it is the most practical container to use, the easiest to recycle, the most attractive, and is the cheapest in the entire industry. The biggest difference is that the Xbrik is the only packaging option to truly revolutionize the manufacturing of food packaging.
What do you mean by cheapest?
Burgos: The Xbrik is 40% cheaper compared to the price of a current standard cereal box with an inner bag.
What sizes and options are available?
Burgos: The Xbrik container sizes range from 250 grams to 5 kilos [or about 9 ounces to 11 pounds].
The system includes a corresponding lid aka spout, which I call TOPCRIC and TOPBRIK. There are six different sizes for each model.
The spouts are made of polypropylene. Plastic is used because it has mechanical characteristics that are impossible to match with materials such as cardboard or aluminum.
The spout is sealed with any easy-to-peel-off organic film made of biodegradable potato starch or similar material. The seal provides the box a nitrogen barrier for up to three months.
What have been the main challenges?
Burgos: I have two big challenges: The first was to create the first perfected mold for the Topbrik lids, which required four iterations and years of great effort.
The second challenge was obtaining financing to reach this point.
What’s the patent status?
Burgos: There are three patent families extended to a total of 60 patents worldwide in the US, Mexico, Australia, and Europe.
What have you learned about packaging?
Burgos: Many things; I have participated in 25 trade events around the world, for innovation, packaging and plastic technology. From the interesting people I met I received useful information. I felt that I could do something that the others have not done.
What contacts have you made?
Burgos: I have made more than 1,500 connections on LinkedIn, the vast majority of whom are Americans and more than 70% related to packaging.
What’s the next step?
Burgos: I cannot move forward in Spain, so I want to move to the US to create my own cereal factory and then grant licenses to other companies. The Xbrik project is ready to be commercialized and I am looking for several options including a strategic partner in the US and a global distribution company.
With the right offer, I would also consider selling all of my Xbrik, Topcric, and Topbrik system patents. My goal is to help create the best cereal factory in the world.