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Business Impact

Edible Wraps

With the increasing demand for healthy snacks, manufacturers are grappling with ways to package fruits and vegetables to keep them fresh longer. A new edible film fabricated by Tara McHugh of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Albany, CA, might be the answer. Not only can the material extend the shelf life of fresh foods, preventing them from browning, but it also makes the packaging more recyclable. And if you’re too lazy to walk to the recycling bin, you can even pop the plastic in your mouth and eat it. McHugh created the edible material from pureed fruits and vegetables, then dried it to form a thin sheet of opaque film. Future research plans include fortifying the film with tasty nutrients or adding lipids to make the packaging more water resistant. A number of food-processing companies have already expressed interest in the material, which could reach supermarket shelves within the year.

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