If you think about it, Mother Nature came up with the idea for edible food packaging eons ago—apple peels anyone? But would you be willing to eat a container that looks like, well, a container? Pretty soon, you may be able to.
Enter WikiCells: edible, biodegradable packaging for foods of all sorts. Taking their cues from nature, there are two kinds of WikiCells. One is a totally edible membrane, much like the skin of a grape, that holds your food and is, in fact, food itself. The other is a hard outter shell, more like the outside of a coconut or walnut, that protects the food and is 100 percent biodegradable.
Harvard professor David Edwards is the inventor of WikiCells. He also invented a replacement for polystyrene packing materials called EcoCradle that uses mushrooms and agricultural waste and is completely biodegradable.
But just because he's super smart doesn't mean he can get people to eat their yogurt cups. He has already introduced ice cream in an edible shell and has plans for orange juice that comes in an orange-flavored skin and wine delivered in a grape skin pouch.
In related research, a Pakistani team has been testing carbohydrate and protein-based coatings to extend the shelf life of fresh fruit. Their research found that some of the coatings kept fruit fresh for up to six weeks at refrigerated temperatures.
The real question becomes, will consumers be willing to give these new packaging options a try?
David Edwards told Business Insiderabout his WikiCells product: “This may be the first scalable, inexpensive, stable packaging solution that fully eliminates plastic.”
So what do you think? Would you eat your ice cream, and the wrapper too?
Image by Dan4th