Researchers Develop Biodegradable & Edible Food Packaging

The role of the packaging is to preserve and protect the product throughout the manufacturing, transport, storage, and consumption chain. Good packaging also guarantees the health and safety of consumers.  

One of the most important elements of the marketing mix is Promotion. And now, packaging has become a strong element of the Marketing mix. Some say it should fall under promotions because it helps in attracting attention for the product. Others say, it serves a much higher purpose than only promotions and hence the argument is that packaging can become the 5th P of the marketing mix. For food packaging, the material should be safe which do not react with the food.  

Mostly packaging is used only for the protection of the product and after the product is consumed, the packaging material is thrown which is dangerous to the environment. 

The University of Nottingham has developed biodegradable and edible food packaging made from plant carbohydrates and proteins which is safe, and also improves storage and moreover is edible.  The Sino-UK project is led by Professor Saffa Riffat from the Faculty of Engineering, whose research group is world-renown for innovations in sustainable materials, energy and building technologies. 

This includes their investigations into the structure and functionality of sustainable natural materials such as plant polysaccharides (carbohydrates) and proteins to develop advanced materials for applications in buildings, energy technologies, packaging and beyond. The researchers have found that plant carbohydrate and protein macromolecules bond together into a special network structure during the film-forming process. The network structure provides the film with a required mechanical strength and transparent appearance for the film to be used as packaging materials. 

The primary market for these plant-based packaging materials will be superstores and food supply chains. The research team is also aiming to advance the technology for general packaging in construction, express delivery and magazines, etc. 

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