At the forefront of edible food packaging is Harvard’s Dr. David Edwards, professor of the Practice in Biomedical Engineering. Edwards, along with his team of scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, have created an edible membrane made from biodegradable polymer and food particles which would stand in the place of traditional packaging such as cellophane or cardboard. The edible membrane, or "Wikicell," acts as a naturally-found "bottle" similar to a way the rind or skin of a fruit protects the flesh underneath. Edwards’ believes that it is possible to store any flavor inside a Wikicell. So far his team has created a tomato membrane containing gazpacho, a grape membrane with wine inside, and others. Edwards has also developed a prototype bottle with a coating similar to an eggshell that can either be peeled off or eaten whole along with the membrane underneath.
Europe is also in the development stages of creating edible packaging. Pepceuticals, a British company, was just granted a European research contract amounting to 2 million U.S. Dollars (£1.3 million). The company aims to develop a packaging for fresh meats that will be completely waste-free. Their research showed that British consumers spent the most money on meat with a staggering 570,000 tons of purchased meats going to waste. Pepceuticals argues that if a antimicrobial film was applied to the meat when butchered and processed for grocery stores and butcher shops money would be saved as well as reducing the time it takes meat to spoil. By adding the film, the shelf life would increase, overall waste of meat and packaging would be reduced, and the use of oil-based plastic vacuum seals would become obsolete.
Although the idea of edible packaging is incredibly intriguing from an environmental standpoint there is the issue of our foods being tampered with or coming into contact with bacteria that it otherwise would have been protected from if it was in a traditional bag or box. There is also the problem of how food items would be distinguished from one another without their conventional packages. If an additional brand packaging would be needed the edible membrane, film, or casing would be irrelevant unless branded directly onto the membrane. Another barrier of edible food packaging is more psychological. We have been conditioned to not eat the box our healthy flax seed cereal comes in even if you have a feeling it might taste better.