The idea of edible packaging is nothing new, but it is a lot closer to the mass market than it ever has been before. People have long been intrigued with the concept of being able to eat the food bag, as well as the goods within. It certainly would go a long way toward reducing the waste that piles high as we throw away Styrofoam, cardboard boxes, and even some flexible packaging.
It is easy to imagine how our world would be impacted on a global level if, suddenly, the majority of packaging was edible (or, at very least, easily dissolved into a earth-friendly liquid).
This is exactly what researchers are working toward, and it is very possible that we will see new food pouches and other food product packaging made entirely of edible materials in the near future. In fact, right now, two large scale experiments are underway using unexpected materials as packaging – mushrooms and milk.
Not milk exactly, but a milk protein called casein. This is an entirely biodegradable and, yes, edible material, which could soon be used to package cheeses and other dairy products. Not only can this material be used to protect the food within, say researchers, but it could also add a nutritional boost, because it is a natural protein. The combination of water, casein, glycol, and citrus pectin produces a thin, malleable material that would rival the plastics currently used in the mass market.
In yet another lab, there are a couple of young scientists and entrepreneurs who are developing an entirely different type of packaging material, which undoubtedly excites every packaging company. One of the challenges of trying to abide by eco-friendly practices is the fact that there is no strong alternative to Styrofoam inserts, which are often help to keep products in place, and safe when transported and shelved. However, these young forward thinkers have come up with a way of using mushrooms as the base for a new type of Styrofoam that will biodegrade. You can read more about their efforts at Business Insider.
With such innovation, it is easy to picture the day that we no longer have to worry about the waste created by throwing away plastic pouches and other such materials.