A Sustainable Way to Preserve Food Without Plastic Waste


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Since the first fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1907, plastic has gone on to become a mainstay in our daily lives. Admittedly, plastic is good for keeping food fresh. However, the continuous use of plastic materials puts the environment at risk because they are not biodegradable, and they end up polluting the environment. Of course, the usual rationalization is that plastic can be recycled. But research has shown that only 9% of the plastic produced ever gets recycled. Thus, it seems this love-hate relationship is not ending soon as the remaining 91% that never get recycled end up polluting the environment.

Well, there is a new smart packaging  with the potential to change how we store food and reduce plastic waste. You read that right; this alternative packaging developed by a team of researchers from the Center for Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and their colleagues at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, is “smart” as it is infused with enzyme-sensing fibers.

The packaging is primarily made from zein, a biodegradable type of corn protein, and other biopolymers extracted from food waste. Zein is gotten from corn gluten meal which is a waste by-product of ethanol production. Essentially, this alternative packaging finds a new use for waste products without adding more pollutants to the environment.

Now to the smart part. The material contains a mesh of nanoscale fibers produced through electrospinning. The mesh is infused with natural antimicrobial compounds to counter the actions of food spoiling enzymes released by bacteria like Listeria. These antimicrobials aren’t released by default. Instead, the nanoscale fibers are programmed to detect increased humidity levels and the presence of food-spoiling enzymes and release small amounts of antimicrobial compounds.

The smart release of the antimicrobials increases the shelf life of the food stored inside. Strawberries wrapped with this new material stayed fresh for seven days before developing mold, two days longer than those stored in regular plastic containers.

With the material still in its early stage of development, coupled with the fact that electrospinning is a scalable technology, we can expect this new smart packaging material to gain widespread use in the near future. The material’s potential to make food storage better is immense, and it comes as a breath of fresh air in the food packaging and environmental sustainability space. Plastic no longer has to be a necessary evil, as we gradually do away with it.

Quick Overview Of The Headlines

Russia cuts fertilizer supplies, hurting Brazil, one of their major customersThe Wall Street Journal

Brazil, one of the most influential breadbaskets in the world, is now searching for new fertilizer suppliers as the Russian trade ministry calls for a broad suspension of fertilizer exports. Global food prices are expected to be affected by this change, as the country is the world’s largest producer of coffee, sugar, and soybeans.

Waste2Func obtains US$7.4M grant to convert food waste into valuable raw materialsFood Ingredients First

Waste2Func, an EU-based initiative to reduce the effects of food waste, has been awarded a US$7.4M grant that will be used to expand their efforts. The project aims to convert food waste into valuable raw materials that can be used to create a wide range of everyday products.


United States Breadmakers Wary of Escalating Costs as Conflict Engulfs the Wheat TradeBloomberg

Several US-based bakeries have already raised their prices amidst the ongoing surge in wheat prices and rampant speculation. Together, both Russia and Ukraine are responsible for approximately 25% of the world’s grain exports and industry experts are expecting things to get worse as confusion and turmoil surrounds the Black Sea trade

Flashfood, the Ambitious Food Waste Reduction App, Raises $12.3 MillionGrocery Dive

Flashfood, the ambitious food waste reduction app, has partnered with numerous grocers in the US and Canada – now being available in over 1,200 stores. The free app has raised $12.3 million in a Series A funding round and plans to use it to expand its US presence.

Innovative Cape Town Dairy Startup Serves as Africa’s First Leap Into the Growing Animal-Free Dairy MovementVegNews

De Novo Dairy, the first precision fermentation company in Africa, is creating milk proteins, which are molecularly identical to those in cow’s milk, to manufacture dairy products without exploiting animals. The company has attracted early-stage investment from CULT Food Science, a Canadian investment company focused on supporting and advancing the technology behind the future of food.

New York startup Popchew aims to help creators and local food brands better utilize digital infrastructure – TechCrunch

Popchew, a recent New York-based startup, seeks to help creators grow their digitally native food brands in a matter of weeks. The company has recently secured $3.6 million in seed funding and aims to launch new brands every month.

Global food protectionism continues to rise as Hungary introduces a ban on grain exportsYahoo! Finance

Amidst the growing disruption that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having on the global agricultural trade industry, several governments have enacted measures to preserve domestic food supplies. In addition to Hungary’s ban on grain exports, Argentina and Turkey have also enacted similar measures.


Food Industry Headlines Overview- February 2022

Wheat, Corn And Soybean Prices Surge Amid Fears That Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Will Lead To Higher Food Prices – Forbes

Wheat, Corn, and soybean prices rose in the U.S. on Thursday (Feb 24) after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. This surge has caused wheat and soybean contracts to hit their highest prices since 2012. Both Ukraine and Russia are responsible for more than 25% of global wheat exports – being key suppliers to Europe and the Middle East – as well as 80% of sunflower oil exports and approximately 20% of corn exports.

Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness Welcomes Four New Food Safety PartnersQuality Assurance & Food Safety

The Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness has recently welcomed four new members into the fold – Consumer Brands Association (CBA), Chipotle Mexican Grill, JBS USA, and PepsiCo, Inc. The initiative – which is focused on improving food safety culture throughout the industry – was launched in 2018, and now consists of 18 industry partners.

Coca-Cola brand fairlife hits $1bn markDairy Reporter

Coca-Cola’s dairy-focused “fairlife” brand is the company’s latest product line that has managed to surpass $1 billion in annual retail sales. The brand, which was founded just a decade ago in 2012, includes protein shakes, ultra-filtered lactose free milk, and light ice cream. Coca-Cola’s fairlife products are currently sold by retailers throughout the US, Canada, and China.

Food and drink prices are going up. CEOs say consumers aren’t changing their shopping behavior yetCNBC

Several food and beverage manufacturers have stated that consumers are not changing their shopping trends, even in the face of rising food and drink prices. Walmart – one of the most prominent retailers – stated last month (Feb 2022) that consumers are fully aware of the change in prices but there hasn’t been any noticeable difference in their behavior as of yet.

Food & Health News- January 2022

Food Forecasters Predict the Future of American Eating in 2022

Various issues that were facing this year such as the new and quickly spreading omicron variant,  economic uncertainty, social justice issues, and a fast changing climate will affect the food industry in 2022. Consumers are likely to pursue healthy, cheap, eco-friendly food options for 2022. 

Forecasters predict that plant-based foods such as mushroom-based products, foods with kelp, and plant based meat. Eco-friendly products such as edible spoons, chopsticks, plates, bowls and cups as well as robusta coffee a cheaper, and easier to produce option than coffee beans, which is getting harder to produce and more expensive due to climate change. Read more here


Unilever & Gut Microbiome Company Holobiome Partner To Innovate Mental Health Enhancing Beverage Products 

The gut microbiome is now considered an essential organ by many scientists.In the gut it contains 70% of the immune system, and 90% percent of the body’s mood-elevating serotonin. This is a concern for most consumers which is why food companies, such as Unilever and Holobiome, are looking to identify ingredients that interact with bacteria in the gut that have been discovered to use neurotransmitters to signal to the brain.

Unilever and Holobiome have partnered to do research that aims to identify specific ingredients that interact with the special bacteria. The screening process will attempt to identify prebiotics, a type of food beneficial for gut microbes, it is also a type of food that Unilever is experienced in selling in products. The research is expected to come out near the end of 2022. Read more here


Nestle Identifies Trends that will Shape the Food Industry in 2022 

With changing food trends due to the pandemic, food companies have to adjust to the latest trends for best customer satisfaction. Nestle has identified various trends in the food industry and is working to adjust and go along with these trends embracing new ideas such as online sales for food, at home breakfast and lunch options, and more.

With growing caution due to the pandemic, consumers are staying at home more to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19. This means that online shopping services have been more heavily used and relied on more than ever before. Nestle has noticed this trend and as a result has revealed their intention to increase online sales with plans for 25 percent of their revenue coming from this option by 2025. Another new trend that has come about during the pandemic, at home breakfast and lunch. With many working from home consumers have been looking for “heat and eat” meal solutions and Nestle has started Life Cuisine which offers these times of meals.Nestle has also begun to embrace other trends such as the surge in snacking, and plant based products. Read More Here

Global Health Food Market Projections (Functional Food, Drinks & Supplements)


Recent reports published by Research&Market.com projects that the global food market will reach US$557.6 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 7.15% . The report attributed the growth in the market to growing consumer focus on the nutritional values of food. With US as the fastest regional market, which is driven by the high level of awareness of the people on the health benefits of food.

Here are quick highlights from the reports:

Factors Driving The Projections:

  • Sales of Organic Food
  • Rising Consumption of Vegetable Oil
  • Growth of Geriatric Population
  • Rising Demand For Transparency
  • High Cost of Healthy Food In Low/Middle Income Countries

Notable Trends Includes:

  • Increase In Demand For Energy Drinks
  • High Adoption of Meat Alternatives
  • Growing Consumer Interest In Achieving Health Goals
  • High Demand For On The Go Dietary Supplements

For more information visit: https://www.researchandmarkets.com/