Edible packaging to fight the “evil twins” of food and plastic waste

The Barcelona-based startup, created by researchers at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, says extensive laboratory testing has shown its edible coating reduces losses and scrap rates in fruit and vegetable production and keeps produce fresher, tastier and healthier for longer. It preserves the smoothness, moisture and flavor of each product and protects them from microorganisms, preventing the fruit from spoiling before consumption.

The formula consists of three or four “100% natural ingredients.” When applied directly to the surface of food, the coating creates a semi-permeable barrier that controls respiration rate and reduces food mass loss, extending shelf life. These coatings leave no traces and do not cause a negative impact on the environment, which makes them a completely sustainable technology, the company claims.

In addition, the Bio2Coat coating improves appearance, prevents fungal damage and preserves nutritional value for consumers. And being natural, odorless and tasteless, the startup claims the solution is more acceptable to consumers than artificial fused fruit waxes or food additives like E904 used to preserve and present food. Won’t people buy less fruit and vegetables if it lasts longer? No, they will buy more, explained Bio2Coat co-founder Faraideh Mata Fakhuri. “Consumers want this solution. One of the reasons they don’t buy all the fruit and vegetables they want is the short shelf life.”

The company claims that the edible coating (so far it has been tested on a wide range of fruits and vegetables) adds value throughout the food supply chain, providing up to 15 days of shelf life, up to 50% weight loss, improved appearance, color and reduced impact on the environment.

With the same formulation, the company has produced edible packaging to replace plastic in various applications, which simultaneously protects food while imparting aroma and taste. For example, he has prototyped tomato-based packaging for rice and pasta that dissolves and is eaten after consumers put it in boiling water. Another prototype is an edible chocolate-based breakfast cereal that dissolves in hot milk. The hope is that this dissolvable edible packaging will last in customers’ cupboards for up to six months.

“We hope to solve two problems: food waste and plastic waste from packaging materials,”​ explained Fakhuri, who boasts 20 years of research in food science and technology. “Nowadays, 1/3 of all food produced on the planet is wasted, and only 25% of this amount could feed 800 million people. As for plastic, production has increased 270-fold in the last 70 years, and 91% of that plastic produced worldwide is not recycled and ends up in landfills or as pollutants in waterways and the ocean. These issues are extremely urgent and urgent and cannot be solved with just one solution, but we hope for at least a significant change.’


The startup hopes to start rolling out the patented technology to food industry and retail chains in Europe, the US and Brazil in a few months. His plans are likely to improve after he was recently selected by startup accelerator EIT Food as one of the winners of the competition for the most promising and innovative agri-food startups in Europe. “We wouldn’t be here without EIT Food” Fakhuri told us. “The program provides world-class training and coaching with experts from around the world. It connects you with the agricultural and food industries that can benefit from your decision and with entrepreneurs who have the same needs and aspirations as you, which is very motivating and helpful. It also gives you a toolkit with everything you need to know to successfully launch and manage your startup. it’s amazing how much we’ve learned and grown over the past year. Not to mention the excellent connections we have made with industry and market experts, potential investors and customers.”

The company can now offer a practical solution at scale, she insisted. “Our process is ingenious and involves specific formulations and controlled parameters. However, it is highly scalable as the individual process steps are common in the food industry as well as the equipment required. All raw materials are food-based and abundant in nature, so availability and cost are not limitations. Our main product line, an edible coating to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, is very easy to apply and uses existing farm equipment. And finally, the price is at the level of other methods of post-harvest processing. Edible packaging to fight the “evil twins” of food and plastic waste

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