Edible Packaging: Eat the Chips and the Bag

                                                                                                        (Image credit: Getty Images)

Would you drink a juice box and then eat the box?  Within one to two years you will be able to, thanks to new products from Monosol and the Harvard Wyss Institute.

The Indiana-based-company Monosol is closer to marketing their new product, but it cannot be used with wet goods or drinks.  Known for products like dishwasher detergent pods, Monosol is working on edible packaging for items like hot chocolate, drink sticks and oatmeal.

Jon Gallagher, Monosol's product development manager, told Fast Company, "If we get our films in just 10 percent of the [$22 billion] instant-coffee market, or in the oatmeal or hot-chocolate markets, we could more than triple the size of our business."

The Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, created edible packaging called WikiCells, and studied water-storing fruits like grapes.

Described on the Harvard website, WikiCells is a "natural food membrane held together by electrostatic forces and containing a liquid, emulsion, foam, or solid food substance possibly within an edible or biodegradable shell."

Pros and Cons

The packaging offers a solution to managing urban waste:  it will help reduce dependency on plastic as well as the overall amount of food waste.

Personal hygiene is an issue with the packaging, as food gets handled by different people during the transportation process and risks the spread of germs.