Edible coatings and casings for food

RESEARCH PROJECT "Protein layers" within the framework of the "NewFoodSystems" bioeconomy innovation area

Edible coatings extend the shelf life of fresh food

The background is a sustainable green, the image symbolizes the path from raw material to protein flour to the application as a sausage casing for vegan sausages using the example of the peas shown.
© Kalle GmbH
Logo of the innovation room NewFoodSystems
Funding logo federal ministry of education and research (BMBF)

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.


Project term:

2022 to 2023

Project management/ project funding:

Forschungszentrum Jülich / Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Funded within the scope of the NewFoodSystems initiative of the  'Innovation Program for the Bioeconomy' under the 'National Research Strategy for the Bioeconomy 2030' of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):

Project partners:

Fraunhofer IVV, VAN HEES GmbH, Kalle GmbH