Self-contained Foods Inspire Self-contained Foods
No, the title of this blog post is not a typo. What’s the main difference between how we package food and how nature does it? We encase our foods in wax-coated cardboard, layers of plastics, and other materials. Some of those come from harvesting from nature, and some come from pulling oil from deep in the earth. Nature, on the other hand, encases its fruits and nuts in edible or biodegradable coverings.
A company called WikiCell Designs is taking that idea from nature and creating edible packaging for liquids, mousses, and emulsions such as ice cream, juices, cheese, and yogurt. Wikicells enclose food and drink inside soft skins that are entirely comprised of natural food particles held together by nutritive ions, and generally protect the soft skins with hard shells that are either completely edible (like grape, apple, and orange peels) or are biodegradable (like the husk and shell of a coconut).
The idea was imagined by David Edwards of Harvard and developed with designer François Azambourg. Mimicking nature’s packaging was the subject of a spring 2003 article in Whole Earth magazine by Janine Benyus and Dayna Baumeister, Packaging Tips from the Porcupine Fish (and other Wild Packagers). You can download the text of the article here.