The Future is Sustainable: Edible Packaging
Edible packaging is a sustainable alternative to traditional packaging methods. The recent rise of climate change and plastic pollution has resulted in scientists looking for ways to reduce their impact on the planet. Edible packaging poses as an innovative solution that satisfies both environmental concerns and consumer demands.
What is Edible Packaging?
As the name suggests, edible packaging refers to food-grade materials used to enclose food items. Components used to make these materials are often sourced from plant-based sources such as seaweed, proteins, and carbohydrates that disintegrate quickly in the environment.
Unlike conventional packaging, edible packaging reduces waste and enhances food products shelf life by maintaining freshness and reducing spoilage. This form of wrapping can address multiple issues related to sustainability, such as plastic pollution and food wastage.
Benefits of Edible Packaging
Edible packaging comes with numerous benefits, including:
|Environmentally Friendly||When compared to traditional packaging, edible packaging is environmentally friendly as it eliminates waste during disposal.|
|Reduces Plastic Waste||As plastic has become a significant issue globally, edible packaging reduces the volume of single-use plastics that end up in landfills|
|Extended Shelf Life||Edible packaging increases product lifespan, ensuring less food is wasted while waiting to be sold providing the shelf life is significantly higher than traditionally packaged products.|
|Convenience||Consumers do not have to remove or dispose of any packaging material as the coating can effortlessly blend with the food|
Challenges Facing Edible Packaging
Despite the promising benefits, several challenges hinder the application of edible packaging in the food industry. Firstly, costs associated with manufacturing and processing are higher than traditional methods, hindering its economic adoption. Another major bottleneck is the preservation of food qualities like flavor, texture, and aroma after packaging. Finally, lack of expertise and knowledge regarding the production of functional and stable coatings challenge mass production of edible packaging.
Despite the challenges facing the adoption of edible packaging by the industry, it presents vast potential benefits that cannot be ignored. A vital step in achieving mass production and economic affordability of the method requires collaboration between researchers, government institutions, and private sector partnerships.