File Name: edible food packaging materials and processing technologies .zip
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Startup Notpla handed out sports drink capsules to London marathoners in April. Consumers could eat these seaweed-based capsules along with the liquid inside. Credit: Notpla. An edible plastic film made from the milk protein casein could replace the disposable plastic used to wrap cheese while providing added nutrition. A six-pack ring made from the wheat and barley remains from beer brewing could cut plastic waste and could be eaten by animals if it ends up as debris.
Credit: E6PR. More by Prachi Patel. Cite this: ACS Cent. ACS AuthorChoice. Article Views Altmetric -. Citations 2. As tired runners passed mile 23 of the London Marathon in April, volunteers wearing blue gloves offered them squishy, lime-sized bubbles to pop into their mouths.
The edible drink pods, containing a sip of a sports drink, replaced thousands of cups that runners typically would have thrown onto the road, choking storm drains and creating a massive post-marathon cleanup job. Called Ooho, the capsules encase liquid in a waterproof film made from seaweed. Users can gulp the drink and swallow the packaging.
The company is part of a small but growing number of innovators and entrepreneurs who are looking at turning foodstuffs like seaweed, potato starch, and milk proteins into edible packaging and tableware. Some edible films, wrappers, and straws have found a small, specialty market and are starting to get attention from large food and beverage companies.
The idea of edible packaging has been around for a while, but the time is now ripe for it to take hold in the food industry. Concern about plastic waste is growing globally, and the most common items that wind up as litter and pollute the ocean are linked to food: wrappers, straws, cutlery, bottles, and more. Edible packaging offers hope, but with a healthy side of hype.
For instance, plastic is hard to beat for packaging: it is cheap, light, versatile, and has excellent mechanical properties. Yet in the right contexts, edible packaging could help wean us from plastic. It comes from renewable sources. According to Transparency Market Research, a global research firm, demand for edible packaging could increase on average 6.
With threats of plastic pollution escalating, she says that could happen soon. Something to chew on. Nature does edible packaging well. Apple and grape skins protect the fruit from microbes and the environment. Humans have also been making consumable packaging for decades: sausage casings made of collagen and cellulose, and ice cream cones are examples. In Asia and Southeast Asia, some use plates and bowls made of banana leaves that later become cattle feed. But plastics such as polyethylene and polystyrene offer unmatched convenience and extended shelf life.
They block germs, keep potato chips crisp, and protect berries shipped hundreds of kilometers. They can also be shrink-wrapped around a cucumber to quintuple its shelf life. Bioplastics made from cornstarch and sugar cane are sold as more ecofriendly—renewable, though not edible—alternatives.
But they can be just as bad as petroleum-based plastic for the environment, sitting around for hundreds of years in a landfill or floating in the ocean without breaking down. Edible packaging takes biodegradability to the next level; the same properties that make the materials edible also make them hypercompostable. To make edible proxies for plastic, most researchers have turned to strong, natural polymers extracted from plants.
The ideal edible packaging would be made from a mix of proteins and carbohydrates, the bases of biological polymers found in plant tissues.
These polymers can be effective barriers to oxygen and liquids that spoil food, Culhane says. Food-grade plasticizers such as glycerol and sorbitol can make edible polymer films flexible and stretchy. Companies developing such packaging keep their exact recipes and processes under wraps.
But we do have a few clues. Notpla and several other edible-packaging makers prefer seaweed as their carbohydrate source. Calcium ions cross-link the alginate to make calcium alginate fibers that form a waterproof membrane. Chefs who employ molecular gastronomy techniques make tiny, fluid-filled pearls that are smaller-scale versions of these capsules.
Sixty-five London restaurants that work with the online food delivery company Just Eat are now offering ketchup and other condiments in Ooho sachets, and Glenlivet sold whisky cocktails in them at London Cocktail Week in October. According to a patent that Notpla filed in , the firm can now extrude the waterproof film first and then fill it, paving the path to packaging dry foods like chips and pasta, an approach the company is testing.
New York-based Loliware is turning alginate from seaweed and agar from red algae into flavored straws that, unlike paper straws that get soggy, behave like plastic for 24 h once they become wet. You can eat them if you like; regardless, they will degrade in the environment within 2 months, according to the company. Marriott Hotels and alcoholic-beverage giant Pernod Ricard have reportedly started using the straws this year, and Loliware plans to make up to 30 billion of them by the end of Indonesian company Evoware has tested its edible seaweed-based packaging as a burger wrapper and is now selling it in small quantities for instant-noodle seasoning sachets and coffee pouches.
In addition to cutting plastic use—Indonesia is the second-biggest source of ocean plastic waste—Evoware hopes to provide income to local seaweed farmers. Some companies and academic researchers are trying carbohydrates from sources other than seaweed, using starches from potatoes, for instance, to make cupcake holders, transparent films, and food bags. And instead of using carbohydrates, other groups are working with proteins to make edible packaging.
At the U. The films—made of tangles of calcium caseinate protein, with the citrus polysaccharide pectin added for strength and glycerol added as a plasticizer—are times as effective at blocking oxygen as traditional plastic wrap, according to the USDA.
Tomasula is now partnering with a few private companies to develop products made of these films, which could package powders or replace the disposable plastic films that wrap cheese slices and sticks. Humans are not the only consumers researchers are targeting for edible packaging.
Mexico-based E6PR makes six-pack rings using fibrous wheat and barley remnants from beer brewing. They can fully degrade in the ocean in a few months, reducing the chances that the rings will ensnare marine animals or harm them if eaten. Is the idea garbage?
Asian rice candy comes up frequently in edible-packaging discussions. Kids love to pop the gooey candy, which comes in a thin, edible rice paper wrapper, into their mouths. But the rice paper package is also wrapped in an outer layer of plastic or wax paper.
That double layer illustrates a conundrum with edible packaging or tableware: if consumers are expected to eat it, it needs to be protected from dust, germs, and other contaminants. There are ways to make this idea easier to swallow, though. Promoting nutritional value is one. Packaging for cereal or crackers could be dry and snappy like that to add to mouthfeel.
Technical challenges still need to be overcome, though, before edible packaging can enjoy more widespread use. Moisture and heat remain nemeses of edible films, making long-term storage and transport a hurdle. Researchers and food industry experts all agree that edible packaging will require an outer layer, just like ice cream cones are wrapped in paper and sold in a box.
Those outer materials could also be made from compostable or sustainable materials. The sustainability of edible packaging is also fuzzy. A higher price for such packaging compared with its fossil fuel-based counterparts could also limit its marketability, Farris points out.
Loliware, for instance, plans to make its edible straws competitive in price with paper straws, which cost much more than plastic ones. Perfect for the right use. They do not intend to replace plastic but want to make a dent in its use. Our modern plastic-wrapped world offers many opportunities. According to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the food items that are the least likely to be recycled include seasoning sachets, food wrappers, straws, and coffee cup lids.
All these single-use items could be made from edible or hypercompostable materials—as could the boxed drink pouches and snack packs lining grocery shelves and the packets used in meal kits. Wraps for fast food and fresh goods are another prime application. In October, design studio PriestmanGoode took a flight of fantasy with an airplane meal tray made of sustainable and edible materials. The point was to drive home the need to reduce the 5. Air travel, ocean cruises, and space travel are indeed prime markets for edible ware, Culhane says.
The extra cost of the packaging is negligible compared with the price of a ticket for these trips. Outdoor recreation is another high-value market; consumers might be willing to pay a little bit more for an environmental benefit.
When the situation is right, people will get over the idea of eating packaging, experts say. A combination of clever technology and savvy marketing might be the recipe for success for edible packaging. Consumers had known about the health and environmental benefits of meat substitutes for years. But garnering a wide audience took an affordable product that emulated the taste and texture of meat plus a huge advertising push.
Food industry trend experts point to the growing base of consumers who are eco-conscious yet demand convenience and are willing to pay for that. Author Information.
Schmid College of Science and Technology. Imagine walking into a grocery store where everything is wrapped in edible skins, with no other packaging. You would be able to eat your ice cream or protein bar right off the shelf, its package or wrapper included! Think biodegradable skins and shells like those of fruits coconuts, bananas, apples, etc. Would you be afraid of germs? While edible packaging innovations are on the rise, countless uncertainties prevent consumers from being willing to give these new products a try.
Box 87, Helwan, Cairo , Egypt. A large number of non-biodegradable and non-renewable materials are produced daily for application as food packaging materials. These waste materials have a greatly negative effect on our health and the ecosystem. The idea of a bio-based economy is steadily gaining attention from the scientific, societal, and financial communities, so there are several areas in which the intended approaches can be improved for this reason. Therefore, creating biopolymer-based materials from natural sources, including polysaccharides and proteins, is a good alternative to non-renewable fossil resources.
These metrics are regularly updated to reflect usage leading up to the last few days. Citations are the number of other articles citing this article, calculated by Crossref and updated daily. Find more information about Crossref citation counts. The Altmetric Attention Score is a quantitative measure of the attention that a research article has received online.
Food packaging is packaging for food. A package provides protection, tampering resistance, and special physical, chemical, or biological needs. It may bear a nutrition facts label and other information about food being offered for sale.
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Edible Food Packaging: Materials and Processing Technologies provides a broad and comprehensive review on recent aspects related to edible packaging,.Reply