Technological watch

Application of Whey Protein-Based Edible Films and Coatings in Food Industries: An Updated Overview

The recent surge in environmental awareness and consumer demand for stable, healthy, and safe foods has led the packaging and food sectors to focus on developing edible packaging materials to reduce waste. Edible films and coatings as a modern sustainable packaging solution offer significant potential to serve as a functional barrier between the food and environment ensuring food safety and quality. Whey protein is one of the most promising edible biopolymers in the food packaging industry that has recently gained much attention for its abundant nature, safety, and biodegradability and as an ecofriendly alternative of synthetic polymers. Whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate are the two major forms of whey protein involved in the formation of edible films and coatings. An edible whey film is a dry, highly interacting polymer network with a three-dimensional gel-type structure. Films/coatings made from whey proteins are colorless, odorless, flexible, and transparent with outstanding mechanical and barrier properties compared with polysaccharide and other-protein polymers. They have high water vapor permeability, low tensile strength, and excellent oxygen permeability compared with other protein films. Whey protein-based films/coatings have been successfully demonstrated in certain foods as vehicles of active ingredients (antimicrobials, antioxidants, probiotics, etc.), without considerably altering the desired properties of packaging films that adds value for subsequent industrial applications. This review provides an overview of the recent advances on the formation and processing technologies of whey protein-based edible films/coatings, the incorporation of additives/active ingredients for improvement, their technological properties, and potential applications in food packaging.

Publication date: 31/08/2021

Author: Sujatha Kandasamy

Reference: doi: 10.3390/coatings11091056

MDPI (coatings)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.