Edible packaging’s a great step towards sustainability–
Regionality & seasonality even greater
The Rewe Group is the first retailer in Germany to test the use of coatings for fruit and crops. These are given a wafer-thin, edible coating consisting of a mix of natural substances such as sugar residues, cellulose or plant-based oils. The coating is applied by spraying or dipping the food.
The applied, natural coating reduces the cellular respiration of the harvested products. To achieve this, the coating is designed to allow more carbon dioxide than oxygen to pass through. This creates a kind of modified atmosphere in the fruits, in which the goods remain fresh for longer. The prolonged quality should help to reduce loss and waste of food.
Coating is an interesting new packaging approach. Rewe’s initiative is creative and explorative, which is something that can only be welcomed. However, it would be even more consistent and ultimately more sustainable to tackle the problem at its root.
If it works out to accelerate the supply chain, for example, by means of more regionality and seasonality in the range of goods on offer, this will lead to a “decoupling” of shelf life and packaging costs. What needs to be stored and transported for a shorter period of time needs less protection from the packaging – whatever material it may be made of.