The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Albany, California is bringing innovative and edible solutions to the world that are not only reducing food waste, but improving food quality.
The whole purpose of the ARS is to turn potentially wasted fruits and vegetables into good-tasting, and healthy products. One innovation they have developed is edible wrappers, where there team has cast edible fruit and vegetable purees as edible film wrappers on foods. The films provide barriers to oxygen and moisture, while improving food safety.
The company has partnered with Origami Foods, which is now NewGem Foods to patent their edible films. So far they have had $8.5 million in product sales, amounting to 15 million servings of fruits and vegetables saved. This project has also created 56 new jobs in a rural area with high unemployment.
They also used the technology to make the first edible fruit straw. The use of these edible films is commonly found as alternatives to nori on sushi, gluten-free bread and tortilla alternatives, and glaze sheets for ham.
This innovation is particularly interesting because it not only reduces food waste but also finds ways to enhance the quality and safety of the food it is used on. This impacts several steps of the lifecycle of food and helps preserve food from being wasted. This is one of the many innovative solutions that will continue to help end food waste on a global scale.
What do you think will be the next innovation in food sustainability? If had the resources how would you change the food waste scene?