Poland – Graduate student Roza Janusz has developed a biological alternative to plastic packaging, developed from the natural yeast and bacteria disc used in the fermentation process of kombucha.
With similar properties to the animal tissue used as a casing for cured meats such as chorizo or salami, Janusz has re-imagined the material – known as scoby, or Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast – as a natural wrap for food produce, that can later be cooked with or dissolved. The initial taste of the scoby resembles that of kombucha, but as it absorbs the flavour of the food content, a different taste is formed. The longevity of the packaging also varies depending on what it is wrapping. For food products such as nuts, which have a more acidic pH value, Janusz predicts a longer scoby shelf life.
The UK government’s environmental strategy to reduce plastic waste over the next 25 years highlights the need for brands to reconsider the use of plastic as a packaging material, something Marin Kurian also addressed in a recent project that involved re-engineering ecological materials such as rice starch to create alternatives to plastic.