The first step of the new project at the department "Technology and organization of public catering" was to make edible food films. The unique technology (which received three patents) formed the basis of another ambitious project which is creating edible dishware. The idea to create food films from natural raw materials arose during the development of a new diet for astronauts.
"Initially, we sought to create a package that would allow to store, to heat, and then to eat along with the food. Other packaging in space is inconvenient: it is difficult to dispose " says professor Nadezhda Makarova, project manager and Head of the department Technology and organization of public catering.
Edible food film may be indispensable for those who work in the Arctic or on offshore oil platforms, or people travelling with a backpack.
There are several examples of creating such films. The samples are protected by patents, but they are conditionally edible. Such films consist not only of natural raw materials. Chemical compounds, artificial additives are used upon their production. Of course, it does not have a negative impact on the human body, but it is not fully absorbed by it.
The product obtained by Samara Polytech scientists is made exclusively from natural ingredients. No dyes or preservatives are used. By the way, the film made of vegetable raw materials has little calories, so it can be considered a dietary product.
Chemical processes that entail deep chemical changes are not carried out in the production of edible films. The developers apply the standard processes that take place in the food industry (mixing, concentrating, forming layers of raw materials). First, scientists get fruit or vegetable puree, then they form a mass with a plasticizer and dry the finished layer at a temperature not higher than 60 degrees.
Edible dishware is made according to similar technology, the only difference is that the viscous mass is poured into a special form, and then dried.
While developing food films, scientists experimented with raw materials from various fruit, berries, and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, currants, plums and strawberries, green beans, pumpkins, blueberries. However, an apple is more suitable for dishes because it has the best taste and viscoplastic properties. The ‘apple glass’ turned out so strong that you can pour boiling water into it.
Eurekalert.org describes how tasty dishware, just like edible packaging, in the first place will help to solve the problem of waste disposal. After use, it can be simply thrown away or eaten, and if placed in water, it will completely dissolve in 12 hours.
In the future, scientists plan to produce whole sets of disposable dishware. They started with glasses because they are the most popular type of trash. On average, one glass costs 30-40 rubles, now scientists are working to reduce the cost of the manufacturing process. The authors of the project applied for a patent for apple technology.
France was the first in the world to abandon plastic disposable tableware. By 2020, disposable dishware should consist of at least half of natural materials, and by 2025 not less than 60 percent.