Dairy-based packaging material research

With oil continuing to spew into the Gulf, there is a heightened interest in finding replacements for petroleum-based materials.

And it turns out that there is a lot of research being done on replacing petroleum-based packaging with biobased packaging. The USDA site has two interesting articles on research being done by Peggy Tomasula and her associates at the Agricultural Research Center of the USDA.

The two articles, linked here and here, describe work being done with dairy-based films made from casein and whey, both naturally occurring dairy proteins.

A new book, Potential of Dairy-Derived Ingredients: Food and Nutraceutical Uses, reviews this research on biodegradable dairy-based films. These are edible films that apparently could be used either as protective coatings sprayed directly on food products or as films used in packaging materials

A quick scan of the reviews of this research shows terms like oligasaccharides, lactoferrin, metabolic regulation, and nanoemulsions  . . . obviously way above my simple designer brain to evaluate.

But the good news on the biomaterials for packaging front is that work is being done and alternatives are available.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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