A tasty idea for packaging
How to package food safely without plastic has long proved to be a nightmare for manufacturers. But now many are trialling packaging that is itself made out of food! Last year Waitrose swapped from plastic punnets to recyclable eco-trays made from cardboard combined with dried tomatoes to package its Duchy vine tomatoes. And we’re likely to see other shops following suit this year. But it’s not just tomatoes that could be turned into packaging. Mushroom root, prawn shells and seaweed have all proved to make good materials for packaging in recent trials, as has casein, the protein found in milk which, when combined with a molecule called glyceraldehyde, creates a strong but biodegradable alternative to plastic. While not strictly made from food, natural materials such as wood pulp, compost and bagasse – a waste product from the crushing of sugar cane – have also all been mooted as hopeful substitutes for plastic packaging.