I bought sweet corn from the market recently. The corn was covered with plastic sheet. Is it necessary to pack our veggies also with plastic sheets?
Well, the answer might be yes. Plastic helps in protecting the food, veggies, and fruits. We can’t afford to waste food as the food demand is increasing. But plastic is a problem, it is disturbing the nature. What could be an alternative to this? Will edible food packaging be a good option?
What is Edible Food Packaging
It is the type of packaging that all of us can eat. The advantage is that it replaces the conventional plastic.
This technology could reduce plastic waste and probably make cooking easy. Just imagine putting a sachet of tea powder in hot water without tearing it open. The sachet will dissolve with the tea and might give an extra protein boost.
The research happening in this field is amazing. There are different types of edible packagings- casein based, starch-based, tomato based and more. Here are few examples of edible food packaging:
It is produced from starch-rich plants. Chitosan a waste from shrimps is also being used to make bioactive packagings. These starch-chitosan based plastics are safe and help increase the shelf life of the food.
Edible packaging is now made with milk protein called Casein. This is advantageous over starch-based plastics because they form a tighter packaging. These are not porous and hence block oxygen from spoiling the food. These packaging can protect light-sensitive food also.
Tomato Based Packaging
Biocopac Plus is a company that produces bio-based metal coating from tomato. The company tries to produce a coating from processing tomato skin. Metal coating for cans is usually done with BPA or Bisphenol-A which dissolves in food and affects health and the environment. It is a dual advantage to use tomato waste to make the tin coatings as it is safe and helps in converting a waste.
Flavoured Food Packaging
A company called Wikifoods has developed food packaging system that surrounds the food like a ball. The ball is a flavoured casing that can be broken open like the skin of a fruit. The packaging resembles the bonbon sweets. These balls are made with fruit-filled skins that resemble a grape skin or apple and contains either yoghurt or ice cream. The ball-like casing is flavoured and tastes good.
Bio innovations can definitely change the food packaging system. But it is considered as just science until a huge company finds the application of this science. There are many innovative products which are progressing in research. As more consumers become conscious of their carbon footprint there could be a shift to using edible food packaging over harmful plastics.
Anyways it’s a long way for these packagings to come to market. Because it takes time for the approval from government agencies like the FDA and changing the minds of shoppers who are accustomed to seeing the plastic packaging. Hope very soon we could see edible packaging on the grocery store shelf.