Using Food as Packaging

In this New York Times article Stephanie Strom discusses efforts to use food products like mushrooms, kelp, milk, and tomato peels to create packaging for food in order to replace non-biodegradable materials like plastics. Although food-based packaging can raise certain concerns - for instance, undermining food security if food is diverted to make packaging materials rather than feed people - and can be challenging to develop and use cost-effectively, big and small players continue to pursue R&D in this area. Nestle and Danone have announced efforts to develop wood-based bottles for beverages, and Italian researchers have developed a product made of tomato skins called "Biocopac Plus" that could be used to replace linings containing BPA in canned foods. Ms. Strom notes that the EU, which has funded efforts to develop coatings from whey and potato proteins, estimates that the global market for so-called bioplastics is growing by as much as 30 per cent each year.