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Living Packaging Keeps Produce Fresh with Built-in Roots

Image credit: Nurture
Image credit: Nurture

A student in the United Kingdom has developed an innovative form of food packaging that incorporates the living roots of fruit and vegetables to allow them to continue ripening until they are ready to eat.

Called Nurture, the packaging takes the form of a bowl made of organic material woven with the roots of plants bearing fruits such as tomatoes, cherries or figs. By keeping the bowl moist, the plants can continue to live even while being transported.

Eventually this could be part of weekly delivery that sends the living fruits directly from growers to consumers’ home. The packaging includes extra tools and equipment, such as a holder for the basket, a spritzer for watering the fruits, and forceps and scissors for ‘harvesting’ that prevent nutrition loss while collecting the fruit.

Consumer demand, government legislation and technology advances will propel sustainable packaging to a $244 billion market by 2018, according to a report by Smithers Para. Some of these innovations include downsizing/ lightweighting of packaging, increased recycling and waste recovery, more use of recycled content, uptick in use of renewably sourced materials and improvements in packaging and logistical efficiency.

In other packaging innovation news, Tetra Pak recently announced the launch of the first carton made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials. The new Tetra Rex® carton will be the first in the market to have bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films and bio-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) caps, both derived from sugar cane, in addition to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ™) certified paperboard.

Developed in partnership with Braskem, one of the world’s leading biopolymers producers, the new Tetra Rex package will be commercially available in early 2015. Tetra Pak customers using the standard 1 liter Tetra Rex with TwistCap OSO 34 can easily transfer to the new version without the need for any additional investment or modification to their existing filling machines.

Source: Sustainable Brands