A large number of companies worldwide are trying to address the problem of plastic pollution by developing more sustainable options. Edible packaging has made a big contribution in this regard. The innovators and entrepreneurs are looking forward to turning foodstuff like seaweed, potato starch, and milk proteins, etc into edible packaging, wrappers, and tableware. Although it started from a small, specialty market it gained the attention of large food companies over a few years. Now it’s the right time to ripe for it and use it to impact the growth of your company.
What is Edible Packaging?
Edible packaging is thin, and continuous layers of edible material formed on or in between the food components. The package becomes an integral part of the food that can be eaten along with the whole food product. Edible packaging is environmentally friendly. In addition to being biodegradable, it can be eaten with a lot of nutritional importance. The idea of edible packaging came into existence several years ago, but after conducting a series of research, it’s gaining momentum these days.
The concerns about packaging waste are growing globally therefore the manufacturers found edible packaging they hope to come out of the crisis. The most common items that end up as litter and pollute the oceans are related to food i.e. wrappers, straws, cutlery, bottles, and much more. Edible packaging could help us to get rid of plastic. It is obtained from renewable sources and it’s something that disappears much faster than single-use plastic packaging or even compostable bioplastics. According to a global research firm, Transparency Market Research, the demand for edible packaging will increase on an average of 6.9% yearly till the year 2024, gaining a market worth almost $2 billion worldwide. Some of the best examples of edible packaging include:
- Loliware Biodegr Edible Cups
- KFC Edible Coffee Cups
- Monosol’s Edible Pouches
- Bob’s Burger Edible Wrapper
- Tomatoes Edible Food Container
- KFC’s Edible Bowl
- Edible Milk Packaging
Seaweed and algae are the popular raw materials used in the manufacturing of edible packaging. The intrinsic nature of seaweed as a nutritional source increases its use in packaging applications, with no additional chemicals required. Seaweed farming across different countries commercially has helped to supply the global industry with sufficient raw material. Seaweed can also be used across various food & beverage applications. It is processed in different forms, providing a higher degree of flexibility and future growth prospects to the manufacturers.
Top Impacting Factors:
Reduction in Packaging Waste:
Edible packaging plays a significant role in reducing waste and preserving the environment as the user can eat the packet himself along with the food product. According to the analysis conducted by the Environmental protection Agency (EPA), about 30.2% of household waste consists of food containers. Edible packaging also includes packaging films made up of milk proteins, vitamins, and probiotics. They provide an oxygen barrier to food thereby preventing it from contamination. Plastic waste is the biggest threat to our environment as it is difficult to recycle and takes centuries to decompose. But edible packaging typically generates no waste and does not require any recycling. As most of it is either eaten or gets composted, so it neither ends in landfills nor fills the recycling centers. All these factors contribute a lot to the growth of the edible packaging market.
High Regulatory Requirements:
Edibles films have been declared safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Moreover, it must consist of a water-soluble polymer as it is considered suitable for processing a variety of food products. The ingredients used to make edible packaging can contain general-purpose additives. Regulatory requirements specify that if the edible polymer is prone to allergy, it should be mentioned on the label.
Increase in the Demand for Processed Food:
Over the past few years, there has been an incredible increase in the demand for processed food items. Such products contain an additional amount of sugar, salt, oil, and fats to enhance their flavors and taste. Moreover processed food needs packaging that increases the shelf life of products. The edible coating can help in fulfilling all these requirements. Its advanced features can impact the growth of your company.
This range can be expanded further to include beverages like soup and coffee. An edible package can be made that is easy to dissolve after being exposed to heat. Similarly, instead of using sugar coating on foods like cereals to preserve the quality, milk casein can be used to coat the cereals preventing them from becoming stale.
Increased Shelf Life:
As the edible films are made up of safe and healthy ingredients like gluten, collagen, soy, casein, and zein, etc, therefore it helps in increasing the shelf life of products. They also enhance the quality of the food sidewise preserving the environment. Edible films protect the food from chemical damage thereby increasing shelf life.
Food, Beverage, and Pharmaceutical Sector under Major Influence:
The edible packaging market is making a large contribution to food, beverages, and pharmaceutical applications. Beverages like juices, water, and alcoholic drinks are a strong sector to determine significant market growth. The food service industry is seeking to integrate edible packaging into its product lines, including the use of edible wrapping paper, containers, and other replacements for plastic sachets. Similarly, the pharmaceutical sector is also expected to experience a good influence due to an increase in the demand and nutritional benefits of edible packaging.