American researchers have developed a material that could save millions and change the face of packaging as we know it. Edible food packaging made of milk protein will offer a more sustainable alternative for the food industry.
“There is a lot of money to be saved for consumers and the retail business if we can extend the durability of our food products by packaging them in more intelligent ways,” said the environment and food minister, Esben Lunde Larsen.
The casein-based film will replace plastic wraps, reduce non-recyclable/non-biodegradable waste and effectively prevent oxygen from seeping in packaging and spoiling food quickly.
Citrus Pectin, found in citrus fruits and is claimed to stop prostate cancer and melanoma skin cancer from spreading, is intergraded into the casein to withstand humanity and high temperatures.
The study’s leader Peggy Tomasula said: "The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoliage. When used in packaging, they could prevent food waste during distribution along the food chain,"
The casein coating can be sprayed onto food such as cereal flakes or bars, in addition to being used as plastic pouches and wraps.
The study’s co-leader Laetitia Bonnaillie said: "We are currently testing applications such as single-serve, edible food wrappers. For instance, individually wrapped cheese sticks use a large proportion of plastic—we would like to fix that."