Soccer fans are internationally known for being, well… fanatics, mostly for their teams or, um, let’s call it “team-related identity politics”. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the U.K., where multiple teams, playing in different leagues in each city, engage in a complex net of rivalries. Manchester, for example, has seven professional clubs – one of which is taking on a delicious environmental challenge.
Etihad Stadium (home of the Manchester City team), is piloting a sustainable cup program at their concessions stands this season. They are serving coffee, tea, and hot cocoa in compressed wafer tumblers that (in a reverse cookie-dunking move!) are made to be eaten once the drink is finished.
“The concept of the cup is much like an ice-cream cone. Hot contents are served in 220-milliliter (7.4 fluid ounce) wafer ‘cups,’ made of seven natural, vegan ingredients, chiefly wheat flour, oat bran, and water. They’re able to withstand high temperatures (of up to 85 degrees Celsius or 185 degrees Fahrenheit), due to a pressure heat treatment process; they don’t contain any sugar, wax, or artificial coatings.
Filled with hot liquid, the wafer stays leak-proof for up to 12 hours, and crispy for up to 45 minutes – the duration, conveniently, of one half of a soccer game. The bottom half of the cups are wrapped in a paper label, which is both recycled and recyclable, for easier gripping; and to ensure that the bottom of the biscuit doesn’t touch any surfaces. They’re designed to taste like a thin cookie dunked in a cup of coffee, and contain approximately 100 calories per cup.”
Scottish company BioBite (which was founded two years ago by a pair of University of Aberdeen students) are the innovators behind the cookie cups. The founders hope their invention will help eliminate a whole category of single-use paper products that currently plague public noshing. The Manchester trial also includes unwaxed, sustainable paper cups for beer sales – And thankfully so: I know I’d be thrilled to do my environmental bit by eating a cookie, but not one soaked in beer! If this innovation takes off, we may see it over here, and then I can try one and see.