Research into the adverse health outcomes of food preservatives and the consumer awareness this has achieved has caused a shift in the market wherein fresh and ‘organic’ food products are increasingly being preferred over their more processed counterparts. According to this research, biopolymer-based coatings might be a great alternative to preservatives and conventional plastic packaging materials in preserving foods, especially perishable ones like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Now, industry players suggest that edible coatings might provide the solution that the food industry seeks. Edible coatings are biopolymer-based films directly applied to the surface of foods to form a protective barrier (primary packaging) against the adverse effects of environmental exposure. These eco-friendly films are qualified as being safe for human consumption while also satisfying the requirements of preservation (oxygen and carbon dioxide permeability) and sensory properties (should be transparent, tasteless, and odorless).
Depending on their formulation, edible coatings may present the added advantages of enhancing the sensorial properties of the foods they protect or improving their biochemical, physicochemical and microbial stability.