Technological watch

Edible packaging as sustainable alternative to synthetic plastic: a comprehensive review

The choice of an appropriate packaging materials enhances the shelf life and improves quality of food during transportation, storage, and distribution. Development and innovations in food packaging systems have become essential in the food industry. Most widely used packaging materials are non-biodegradable plastics and are harmful to environment and human health. Thus, food industry is replacing non-biodegradable plastics with biodegradable plastics to reduce environmental pollution, health hazards, and food waste. Edible packaging may reduce food waste and keep perishables fresh. This review article compares edible packaging materials to synthetic ones and discusses their pollution-reducing effects. The several types of food packaging discussed in the review include those produced from polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and composite films. The various characteristics of edible packaging are reviewed, including its barrier qualities, carrier properties, mechanical capabilities, and edibility. The carrier properties describe the capacity to transport and manage the release of active substances, and the edibility indicates acceptance of these items by the customers. Plasticizers, antimicrobials, antioxidants, and emulsifiers were included in the edible packaging to enhance the characteristics of the film. The development and implementation of edible packaging on food products from the laboratory to large-scale industrial levels, as well as their potential industrial applications in the dairy, meat, confectionary, poultry, fish, fruit, and vegetable processing sectors are addressed.


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.