Is this the future of food packaging?
Scientists across the pond have come up with a new, innovative, less wasteful way to dispose of our packaging – by eating it.
Made from milk protein, the packaging was created by a team within the US Department of Agriculture, and will replace plastic wraps such as clingfilm, and reduce non-recyclable waste.
Edible packaging is nothing new, however. There have been some commercially available varieties on the market for years, however not without problems.
As they are traditionally made of starch, which is more porous, oxygen has been able to seep through and spoil food – and therefore they have been consigned primarily to kids’ novelty products. The new casein-based films go some way towards alleviating this issue.
Research leader Dr Peggy Tomasula claims that ‘the protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage’.
The packaging is even thought to be 500 times more effective at keeping food fresh than plastic itself, and looks remarkably similar to cling-film.
The invention has been hailed a ‘food-waste breakthrough’, and has already been forecast to save the consumer and retailer millions through its versatility – the casein coating can be sprayed onto everything from cereal bars to fruit, in addition to being used as pouches and wraps.
It’s been said the new packaging could even be on the shelves within a year, and even come in many different flavours – with no conceivable adverse effects identified to date.
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