Tanvi Nigam is a food enthusiast who can be found at the trendiest restaurants on weekends! She is currently working with the Food 2.0 Conference which will focus on the latest trends in food & beverages, manufacturing tools and techniques, how to avoid scams and fraud in the F&B industry, and much, much more.
Environmental impacts, increasing needs of sustainability, and consumer concerns have driven individuals and brands to put efforts into the use of bio-based materials that are obtained from renewable sources and can potentially as alternatives to petroleum-derived materials for packaging applications on market. Recent developments indicate the rising prospects of naturally derived resources and their contribution to the production of industrial products.
There are numerous biodegradable, compostable, and bio-based packaging initiatives introduced to the market worldwide. Although many of the listed initiatives are still under development and yet to be on supermarket shelves, other solutions, such as sugar cane and bamboo, are already in use. In any case, experts claim that bio-based polymers in food packaging are the wave of the future.
While start-ups are working on a variety of solutions for the packaging sector, experts are looking into emerging technologies. Here are a few promising bio-based materials solutions.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a category of bio-based polymeric packaging materials that offer high performance and elasticity. It is primarily used in the food and industrial packaging sectors. As a result of eco-friendly fermentation, it originates from renewable resources.
Lignin is an organic polymer that increases the barrier properties of end products, especially against UV rays. It is a good choice in terms of supply materials for producing bags, packaging films, and coatings because of its moderate thermal stability and biodegradability.
Unlike fossil fuels-based PET packaging, Bio-Polyethylene Terephthalate (Bio-PET) finds its base in the use of plants and biomass even though they have the same molecular structure. With the help of increased renewable content, Bio-PET is more suitable for recycling when compared to traditional PET as it offers a better eco-balance by emitting less carbon.
Limestone is a natural mineral substance and despite being associated with the sedimentary rock origin, it adds durability and barrier protection to plastic and paper-based packaging. Moreover, this solution degrades back to its original form and does not deprive food crops or comprise harmful artificial chemicals. Combines with technology, it enables proper thermal processing while ensuring recyclability and biodegradation.
Starch is the most easily available form of solution which originates from abundant renewable supplies of potatoes and corn. In addition, starch is also suitable for blending with other polymers. It has superior thermal processing characteristics making it eligible for different formations, such as usual packaging-related processes of film extrusion, blowing, vacuum, and the likes. With decent temperature resistance and insulation, starch can be used for tableware and food packaging.
These are a few promising examples of bio-based material. However, there is a long list of other solutions that companies and individuals use or will use in the upcoming years. It is high time for key stakeholders to take a step towards running a successful business while adhering to climate change prevention policies. The Food 2.0 Conference will focus on the latest trends as well as work on the solutions for the challenges faced by the industry.