We all want to cut down on the waste products while enjoying food on the go, right?
It’s how we should be thinking at least. In the UK alone, according to the government’s waste adviser, Wrap, we generate 6.6m tonnes of food, drink and packing waste a year, at a cost of £5billion.
The solution? To produce a packaged food we can eat container and all. No mess, no waste and we eat more. Hurrah! More to the point think of those precious minutes you’ll save not having to scrape the last traces of ice-cream from the corners of the tub – now you can devour the lot!
This isn’t such a strange concept. Folk have been encasing food in natural edible skins for centuries (Haggis anyone?). And as the world’s F&B manufacturers continue to adopt more sustainable practices Havard bioengineer Dr David Edwards and his researchers in France, have been developing edible packaging since 2009. And now Wikicells are set to change the food industry and the way we eat in 2014. Dr Edwards take on it from the start is simple: ‘Everything is useful and everything is good for you. You don’t throw things away.’ Noted.
So the products are designed to imitate how fruit and vegetables are ‘packaged’ in nature with a protective outer layer or skin you can eat just like an apple or a pear.
The first instalment launched in the US last month (well a redeveloped version) are called Wikipearls and consists of pretty looking frozen yoghurt and ice cream balls encased in flavoured edible skins and sold in biodegradable cellophane bags.
The edible membrane uses a combination of algae and calcium to mimic natural packaging. It’s like a scoffable plastic, but is mixed with food particles, such as cocoa or fruit, so it tastes like what is inside not a Tesco carrier bag. (Phew).
WikiPearl ice creams can be purchased in the Paris-based WikiBar
and brought home in 100% biodegradable packaging
Next up Dr Edwards plans to produce a range of yoghurt pots, cartons, bottles and ice cream containers. And it’s not just about the dairy. Solids and liquids including soup, cheese, cocktails, fizzy drinks and coffee can be successfully packaged in this way.
You may even be ordering your wine in a large grape, not glass. Yes really! Just pierce with a straw, drink the contents and pop the rest in your mouth, not the bin.
It still sounds odd doesn’t it? But moving towards a sustainable future means embracing the unusual and allowing it to become the norm – that’s the idea anyway. And you thought eating the packet sounded weird? How about edible insects? Find out why we’ll all be opting for bush tucker soon enough…
Judy (@Judycogan) is a freelance journalist who started out as a hack and now writes and edits food, travel and lifestyle features for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, the Middle East and beyond. With constantly itchy feet she loves to travel and has visited countries including China, India and Norway getting involved in the local culture and making good friends as she goes – then writing about them! On Judy’s first visit to Lebanon in March she fell for the country in a big way through its delicious food and lovely people (who like to eat and drink as much as she does). A chefs dream, she likes her steaks still mooing, curries hot and is slowly learning it’s not always a good idea to announce ‘I’ll eat anything!’ in different parts of the world.
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