Edible coatings extend the shelf life of fresh food
Edible coatings or casings can be used to extend the shelf life of fresh food products significantly, resulting in a huge reduction in food losses along the entire value chain. This will increase sustainability across the supply chain, particularly when it comes to the provision of fresh, ready-to-eat foods such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish, meat and alternative vegan foods, which are highly susceptible to microorganisms. The aim of the “Protein layers” project is to create a new generation of edible coatings and casings using plant-based proteins.
Edible coatings based on non-animal proteins
Edible coatings are already in use –.mostly made from collagen, which is an animal protein product. The “Protein layers” research project is aiming to develop a concept to replace collagen with non-animal proteins (e.g., plant, algae or fungal proteins) that offer the same functional properties. Given the areas of expertise of the individual project partners, the development work is focusing on the example of vegan sausage products. The partners are looking to develop protein casings that offer similar mechanical and sensory properties to collagen casings. The project is investigating which proteins are particularly well suited to this task and the extent to which texturing and modification of the proteins can positively influence the barrier effect and the mechanical properties. In order to do this, the functional and rheological properties must be characterized under thermomechanical stress at Fraunhofer IVV.
Edible coatings for numerous applications
Other factors will be taken into account when developing the edible protein coating, including allergic potential, absence of GMO, taste, color, as well as the price and availability of the protein raw materials. The edible protein layers developed in the project will then be able to be transferred to other food applications, such as fruit and vegetables that are ready to eat. Further applications outside the food industry — for example, for pharmaceutical products — are also possible.
2022 to 2023
Project management/ project funding:
Forschungszentrum Jülich / Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Fraunhofer IVV, VAN HEES GmbH, Kalle GmbH