What is the innovation applied in food packaging for thinner and biodegradable purposes?

The article will discuss some innovations used in food packaging to make the process waste-free and biodegradable. The article will also shed light on the need for better and eco-friendly packaging and explained the case of bioplastics and agar plasticity, 

Further, the steps and mindset to be sustainable with food and its packaging will also be elucidated.

What is the innovation applied in food packaging for thinner and biodegradable purposes?

The innovations used in thinner and biodegradable food packaging include bioplastics either produced from monomers, made from biomass, or extracted from microbes. 

The material produced will be biodegradable and unlike conventional plastics will not depend on non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels. 

What materials are usually associated with food packaging?

If we talk about the general trends that have existed so far, the materials that are usually associated with food packaging are plastics including polypropylene and polyethylene. However, other less dominant materials also include 

  • Paper 
  • Cardboard
  • Metal 
  • Glass 

Eating has been one of the most natural instincts of all animals and humans from the very start. We may survive without electricity but we definitely can not survive without eating. 

It is for the same reasons that the food industry is perhaps one of the biggest industries out there. However, as it is expressed that with greater power comes great responsibility, the same is the case of the food industry. 

The massiveness of the food industry impacts many other aspects as well and one of the most affected aspects is the environment. 

This is because the food needs to be packaged and packed and when it comes to that, the materials that are usually highlighted are plastics namely polyethylene and polypropylene. 

However, with the rising environmentally conscious behaviour, there has been a burgeoning inclination towards eco-friendly materials and products and thanks to this trend, there has been a growing discrepancy between conventional and contemporary food packaging materials. 

Why is there a need for innovation?

It may be wondered if the present materials are doing the work effectively, then what is the need for this innovation?

The answer to the question can be summarised in one word and that is the environment. When materials such as plastics or glass are used, there are negative and detrimental impacts rendered on the planet and the people because the materials that are usually associated have a degradative effect. 

This is stanced because the materials used in traditional food packaging are sourced from fossil fuels. This means that there is the consumption of non-renewable resources. 

Also, the addition of environmental anomalies is something that needs to be mentioned because when plastics or glass are used, there is an emission of greenhouse gases and other gases that cause environmental anomalies such as climate change, pollution, global warming, deforestation et cetera. 

Another very important aspect that we need to cover is that the use of traditional food packaging is harmful because most of this packaging is non-biodegradable and will cause problems related to waste buildup and accumulation. 

What are some innovations in food packaging?

Let us now delve into some of the innovations that have been applied in the food packaging industry that does a lot of good to the environment. 

When it comes to that, there are certain divergences that we need to be mindful of. The basic idea or science behind the innovations in food packaging is that the packaging should be made from natural and biodegradable material. 

When it comes to that, there are options such as biodegradable plastics. These plastics are made from natural and plant-based materials such as mushrooms and sugarcane et cetera. Plastics made from these natural and plant-based sources will be eco-friendly and biodegradable too. 

More than that, the packaging should be waste free and this means that there should be no waste produced as a result of the packaging of food. 

This can be achieved if the packaging is made from biodegradable and compostable material because in that case, the packaging can return back to nature instead of piling up in the environment. 

Therefore, let us assess some innovations in detail 

Biodegradable plastics 

One of the most important challenges to overcome is the non-biodegradability of plastics and the dependency on fossil fuels. 

The presence of these two factors not only makes plastics contribute to the waste problem but also plays a role in the exacerbation of environmental problems such as pollution, global warming, and climate change. 

An answer to these complications is bioplastics or biodegradable plastics. These plastics such as PLA rely on plant-based sources such as mushrooms, sugar beets or sugarcane. 

Moreover, since these plastics are biodegradable, these plastics, when used in food packaging, will not cause waste issues and will degrade readily. 

However, there are certain factors and research that somewhat create a sense of equivocality when it comes to bioplastics because these plastics are also linked with several toxic effects. Furthermore, the complete degradation of these bioplastics is also frowned upon. 

Food packaging from biological organisms 

It is stanced that with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the use of packaging material. When it comes to packaging material, there are two candidates. One is cardboard and the other is plastic.

Our concern is the plastic packaging because this packaging is not considered eco-friendly or sustainable mainly because of two reasons: 

  • It is made from fossil fuel derivatives
  • It is not biodegradable and compostable 

Therefore, with the growing environmental movement, there is a rising trend and proclivity toward eco-friendly. The same is seen in the case of packaging material as well. 

Recently, a new type of packaging material has been introduced which is called agar plasticity. This is made from agar sourced from red seaweed (algae). Not only is this biodegradable but also completely eco-friendly. 

It was demonstrated that this agar plasticity can completely dissolve in boiling water and leaves no residue behind. Therefore, it is stanced that an agar plasticity is a green option that can potentially replace plastic packaging for the good of the globe. 

This agar plastic is bound to degrade in 2-4 months. 2 months in the case of summer and 4 months in the case of cooler temperatures. 

Will the innovations be waste-free?

From a theoretical point of view, innovations ought to be waste free. However, the ground reality discerns subtly. The basic idea of these innovations is to make waste-free packaging so that the packaging material can either be composted or recycled. 

While this is true in some cases, it can not be applied to all given the limitations and reservations that travel along by. 

How can you be conscious and eco-effective with food packaging? (5 ways) 

It is not just up to technology and innovation to help alleviate the environmental problems. One of the most important aspects of all this change is the consumer itself. 

Therefore, as it is expressed that charity begins at home; there is tons of stuff that you can do to play your part in reducing the amount of packaging material because regardless of the innovations, there still will be some effect on the environment and resources. 

Here are some steps through which you can do that 

  • Growing your own food 
  • Buying local food to reduce the complexities of the logistics 
  • Shopping responsibly 
  • Buying in bulk because it will reduce packaging 
  • Promote and prefer those brands that use biodegradable material, are certified, and offer reuse and refill options. 


The article discussed some innovations used in food packaging to make the process waste-free and biodegradable. 

The article also shed light on the need for better and eco-friendly packaging and explained the case of bioplastics and agar plasticity, 

Further, the steps and mindset to be sustainable with food and its packaging were also elucidated to cultivate and curate a positive mindset. 


  • Shaikh, S., Yaqoob, M., & Aggarwal, P. (2021). An overview of biodegradable packaging in the food industry. Current Research in Food Science, 4, 503-520.
  • Patel, J., Soni, D., Raol, G., Surati, V., Gopani, Y., Bhavsar, N., & Bhavasar, N. (2019). Agar-Agar bioplastic synthesis and its characterization.
  • Kale, G., Kijchavengkul, T., Auras, R., Rubino, M., Selke, S. E., & Singh, S. P. (2007). Compostability of bioplastic packaging materials: an overview. Macromolecular bioscience, 7(3), 255-277.
  • Atiwesh, G., Mikhael, A., Parrish, C. C., Banoub, J., & Le, T. A. T. (2021). Environmental impact of bioplastic use: A review. Heliyon, 7(9), e07918.

Leave a Comment