The Global Market for Edible Films and Coatings

  • Published: May 2024
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Edible films and coatings are thin layers of material (their thickness is generally less than 0.3 mm) used for enrobing the food product to replace or fortify the natural layers and can be consumed as a part of the product or with further removal. Therefore, the materials used in the formulation should conform to the general food laws and regulations. Additionally, the coatings and films should not affect the organoleptic properties of the food product negatively.

Edible films made from natural biopolymers provide a viable alternative to synthetic food packaging due to their edibility, biodegradability and compostability as well as to their use as active packaging. Active compounds incorporated in edible films could protect foods against deterioration during storage and therefore extend their shelf life. Hydrocolloids, both polysaccharides and proteins, are the most common group of biopolymers used in the production of edible materials. They can be obtained from sources such as plants, animals or microorganisms.

Cellulose derivatives, starches, alginates, pectins, chitosans, pullulan, and carrageenans are the most popular polysaccharides used in the production of edible films and coating, whereas among proteins the most popular are soybean proteins, wheat gluten, corn zein, sunflower proteins, gelatin, whey, casein and keratin.