Nanotechnology: Restructuring the Edible Packaging in Food & Pharmaceutical Market


As the world adapts to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, industries worldwide are leveraging advanced technologies to solve critical issues. One such technology, Nanotechnology, is steadily reshaping the several sectors globally, especially in packaging – more specifically, edible packaging. As per the latest Inkwood Research report, the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market is set to grow with a 4.11% CAGR and generate $1202.06 million in revenue during the forecast period, 2023-2032.

The evolution of nanotechnology in edible packaging begins with the creation of nanocomposites formulated by integrating nanoparticles into edible films. This amalgamation dramatically boosts the films’ barrier properties, increases mechanical strength, and reduces oxygen permeability, making the packaging far more robust. [Source]

An apt example can be drawn from research conducted by Brazil’s Embrapa Instrumentation. They developed an edible film made of nanocellulose fibers extracted from bananas, which displayed superior mechanical properties and could extend the shelf-life of packaged food products. [Source] As these advancements continue to shape the future of packaging, they also profoundly impact the market dynamics within these industries.

Nanotechnology’s Relevance in the Food Industry

Nanotechnology’s influence is resolving critical challenges in the food industry, such as food preservation and waste reduction. The development of nanocomposite films incorporated with antimicrobial agents like nisin or lysozyme can actively hinder bacterial growth, ensuring longer shelf-life for food products. [Source] For instance, companies like Mantrose-Haeuser Co Inc offer edible coatings, which contain blends of organic acids and mineral salts that maintain the freshness and extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. [Source]

Nanotechnology also paves the way for biodegradable films using polyvinyl alcohol, chitosan, and lignin nanoparticles. These edible films, embedded with antioxidant and antibacterial properties, offer a sustainable alternative to traditional plastic packaging while maintaining food safety. A noteworthy product is the WikiPearl™ developed by the company WikiFoods. It is an edible, biodegradable food packaging solution that eliminates the need for plastic. [Source]

Nanotechnology’s Implications on the Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry stands to gain tremendously from nanotechnology in packaging. Nanosensors can monitor drug stability, ensuring that the medicine maintains its therapeutic efficacy throughout its shelf life. [Source] Edible pharmaceutical packaging offers a more convenient and patient-friendly medication intake method. For Instance, PillsyCap is a smart pill bottle cap that tracks dosage and provides reminders, easing medication management for patients and healthcare providers. [Source]

The era of nanotechnology in edible packaging is undoubtedly underway, promising an exciting array of benefits for the food and pharmaceutical industries. However, despite the promising future, the safety implications of consuming nano-engineered materials are a concern. Accordingly, the European Food Safety Authority and the FDA have proposed regulatory guidelines and procedures to ensure consumer safety.

Nanotechnology in Edible Packaging: Strategic Developments

The highly competitive landscape of the global edible packaging market in food and pharmaceutical sectors is increasingly punctuated by strategic mergers and acquisitions, innovative product launches, and promising partnerships. This fierce competition amongst the key industry players has undoubtedly fostered an environment that continually strives for excellence, resulting in new, innovative offerings that are set to reshape the industry.

In April 2023, a notable merger was witnessed when SARIA Group expanded its portfolio by acquiring Devro, a reputable supplier of collagen-based edible films and coatings. This acquisition harmonized perfectly with SARIA’s existing repertoire, which included activities in natural sausage casings. The fusion of these two titans in their respective fields promises to accelerate the growth of both companies and, more importantly, spur the advancement of their collective mission of product innovation. With such strategic alliances, the industry is set to witness a surge in developing more efficient and versatile edible packaging solutions. [Source]

The landscape of product launches has also been vibrant with groundbreaking innovations. An instance that illustrates this momentum was the release of FIBERTEX™ CF 502 and FIBERTEX CF 102 citrus fibers by Ingredion Incorporated in March 2023. Known globally as an ingredient solutions provider, Ingredion Incorporated enriched its offerings by including texturizers made from citrus fruit peels. This introduction highlights the industry’s shift towards sustainable, eco-friendly materials while adding variety to the current market. [Source]

Finally, strategic partnerships and agreements have consolidated expertise and fostered collaborative innovation. In November 2022, Ingredion Incorporated teamed up with InnovoPro. The partnership will allow Ingredion Incorporated to distribute a chickpea protein concentrate exclusively in the United States and Canada, thereby diversifying its product line and contributing to the rapidly evolving plant-based diet trend [Source].

These significant market development activities illuminate the dynamic nature of the edible packaging sector in food and pharmaceutical industries. As the race towards offering more advanced, sustainable, and efficient solutions accelerates, one can only expect further disruption and evolution, fueling the growth of this market.

As nanotechnology is explored and refined in its varied applications, the concept of smart, sustainable, and efficient packaging may soon become a consumer reality, opening up a world of possibilities for industries worldwide. As an ever-evolving technology, nanotechnology promises to drive advancements in the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market.

By Akhil Nair


What are some popular trends in the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market?

Surge in the use of nano additives & nanolaminates, the rise of start-ups in edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market, and utilizing active edible packaging in food & pharmaceuticals are some popular trends in the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market.

What are the key growth restraining factors of the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market?

Reluctant consumer acceptance and issues with safety and regulatory compliance, taste and texture, cost and scalability, and shelf life and durability are the key growth restraining factors of the global edible packaging in food & pharmaceutical market.