Smart Cups: How the company behind 'the world's first printed beverage' aims to help the environment

Phillip Palmer Image
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Want to help the environment every time you take a drink of your favorite beverage? Just add water to a Smart Cup.

Your favorite drink has a negative impact on the environment, if for no other reason than shipping it to your corner market.

Smart Cups, a technology company and new-age drink manufacturer, has a plan to disrupt the future of beverage manufacturing and delivery.

"Smart Cups eliminates the need to transport liquid," said the company's founder and CEO, Chris Kanik.

Mentioned in Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2021, Kanik created a method to print the ingredients of virtually any water-based product on to any type of surface.

"We remove the liquid, allowing for easier transport storage, and then an overall reduction of carbon emissions," Kanik said in an interview with ABC7.

The same truck that carries 96,000 cans of soda can instead carry 1.2 million Smart Cups.

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"We have invested so much at creating infrastructure to provide water around the world," Kanik noted. "Why do we continue to ship liquid? It is costly, it's diminishing our resources. This is an opportunity for us to decrease the use of resources and ship goods around the world."

The first products from Smart Cups were a range of energy drinks in 2017 -- add water and, in seconds, the drink is ready.

After advancing its technology by developing a way to mass-produce drinks, Smart Cups is ready to launch a variety of products.

"We took wine from a liquor store, converted it," Kanik explained, demonstrating the technology to ABC7. "This is Carlo Rossi sangria. We microencapsulated it and then printed it inside of a cup."

It's a cup now, but in the future, name brands could print their own exact product ingredients on a can using Smart Cups technology -- disrupting the status quo in a multibillion-dollar industry.

It's also possible to print medication or even a water-purification system. And in the event that scrambled eggs are printed in a cup? Nutrients could be added for an additional health benefit.

"By adding the micronutrients, we now have a unique humanitarian product that we can ship around the world where refrigeration is lacking," Kanik said.

From probiotics to personal hygiene products, Smart Cups is very possibly about to change consumer behavior and what your grocery store -- or kitchen cabinets -- look like.