Disposable, edible dishware

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018

Disposable, edible dishware

First you eat your lunch and then you eat the plate and cup.

In Russia, Samara Polytech scientists have taken the concept of edible food packaging to a whole new level by developing edible dishware.

The project started during the development of a new diet for astronauts which included edible food films made from natural raw materials.

"Initially, we sought to create a package that would allow to store, to heat and then to eat along with the food. Other packaging in space is inconvenient: it is difficult to dispose," said Nadezhda Makarova, project manager and head of the Technology and organisation of public catering department.

The product created by Samara Polytech scientists is made exclusively from natural ingredients. No dyes or preservatives are used. Being made of vegetable raw materials the film has few calories, so it can be considered a dietary product.

Chemical processes that entail deep chemical changes are not carried out in the production of edible films. The developers apply the standard processes that take place in the food industry (mixing, concentrating, forming layers of raw materials). First, scientists get fruit or vegetable puree, then they form a mass with a plasticiser and dry the finished layer at a temperature not higher than 60°C.

The edible dishware is made using similar technology, the only difference is that the viscous mass is poured into a special form and then dried.

While developing food films, the scientists experimented with raw materials from various fruit, berries and vegetables, such as apples and carrots, currants and black chokeberry, plums and strawberries, green beans, pumpkins, blueberries. However, an apple is more suitable for dishes because it has the best taste and viscoplastic properties. And, the apple glass turned out so strong that you can pour boiling water into it.

Tasty dishware, just like edible packaging, in the first place will help to solve the problem of waste disposal. After use, it can be simply thrown away or eaten, and if placed in water, it will completely dissolve in 12 hours.

In the future, scientists plan to produce whole sets of disposable dishware. They started with glasses because they are the most popular type of trash. On average, one glass costs 30–40 roubles, now scientists are working to reduce the cost of the manufacturing process. The authors of the project have applied for a patent for the apple technology.

Image: Apple glass can be eaten after use. Image credit: @SamaraPolytech

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