Scientists have come up with an innovative edible food packaging design - a development set to radically reduce food waste levels.
Produced by French-based researchers, the WikiCells edible food packaging takes its cue from the natural packaging that encases oranges, apples, potatoes and other types of fruit and vegetables. The skin layers serve to protect the contents inside but they can also be eaten and that's exactly the form taken by these WikiCells.
"It is a completely new way of packaging and eating", lead WikiCells developer Doctor David Edwards - originally from Harvard University - explained in comments quoted by the Daily Mail. He added: "The idea was to use the model of how nature wraps foods."
To date, the WikiCells packaging development team, led by Edwards, have produced a range of water bottles, fruit juice cartons, ice cream containers and yoghurt pots, each of them featuring an edible outer plastic membrane. All resemble their natural fruit and veg counterparts and their membranes are comprised of calcium, algae and food particles so, to the human palette, there's no discernible difference in taste between the inner and outer contents.
The designs that house liquid can be used with a straw - just like a conventional juice carton - while the team has also manufactured small grape-sized membranes containing wine.
‘You could put the little grape membranes in your mouth whole and squash them so you get the wine inside", Doctor Edwards said of these, adding: "Everything is useful and everything is good for you. You don't throw things away."
Edible Food Packaging
The WikiCells edible food packaging team are set to launch an initial product - Wiki Ice Cream - in coming weeks. Also now in progress are discussions with several major food and drinks firms on how to upscale the manufacturing process and introduce this concept to a wider public audience.
Packaging International will revisit the WikiCells edible food development programme in future News items.
Image copyright Wikicells Design Inc