Edible packaging is being hailed as an ideal solution to the ongoing plastic crisis.
With over 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean each year, several food and drink companies have found a creative way to reduce waste. They are trialling materials that are safe for human consumption such as seaweed and water-soluble film in a bid to encourage eco-friendly behaviours across the globe.
Paving the way to a plastic-free future is Apeel Sciences, a California-based fruit and vegetable company who cover their products in a translucent, edible peel. Made from plant-derived materials, 'Apeel' effectively slows water loss and oxidation to extend the freshness of products and subsequently reduce the amount of food that goes rotten and wasted.
Elsewhere in the world, Belgian company Do Eat have developed gluten-free, vegetarian wrapping made from a combination of water and potato starch. A neutral flavour, Do Eat products are completely edible, biodegradable and home compostable. They are commonly used to package sandwiches, bagels, cookies and other individually-wrapped foods.
Perhaps the most popular form of edible packaging is seaweed. Indonesian company Evoware are championing the tasteless and odourless plant as a viable way of wrapping sandwiches, cereals and coffees sachets. Impressively, the company are able to customise their seaweed-based packets with specific colours and brand logos.
Loliware, Monosol, NVYRO and Wikicells are just a few examples of companies that are also developing edible packaging. Notably missing from the list, however, are any British names. While countries as disparate as America and India, Mexico and Belgium embrace this innovative and forward-thinking initiative, the UK has remained conspicuously reserved. With pressure mounting on the British food industry to become more eco-friendly, is it time they took inspiration from the rest of the world?