Edible food packaging emerges

Straws aren’t the only food and beverage utensil undergoing an eco-friendly makeover. Other single-use dining items that function as packaging, including sandwich wrappers and condiment packets, are being re-created to be more sustainable—and edible.


To honor International Earth Day, New Zealand-based chain Better Burger sold burgers in edible wrappers. The eco-friendly wrapper, made of potato starch, was served on 500 burgers sold from the restaurant’s Mt Eden location between 11am and 1pm and purportedly tasted similar to a prawn cracker. Better Burger is making moves to become a more sustainable food service, and has switched its petrochemical-based food packaging to compostable packaging, including using environmentally-conscious straws, and if the technology used to create the edible wrappers becomes more sustainable they’d consider making them a permanent feature. 


KFC doubled down on its Double Down—a sandwich that uses fried chicken to hold its contents together instead of slices of bread—by offering it in a wrapper that is edible, as well. Designed by Ogilvy & Mather Group HK, the zero waste sandwiches are being offered in KFC China locations. The rice paper wrappers are printed with red and black patterns and various sayings in edible ink, such as “Sorry. Trays are still not edible.” and “The wrapper is edible. So if you eat it, you’re recycling. Sort of.” In the past, KFC made edible nail polish to exemplify its “finger lickin’ good” slogan. 


Just Eat, a food delivery service in the UK, did a six-week trial of edible condiment packets this summer. The sachets, made of made of compostable seaweed, were offered in ketchup and garlic sauce versions with orders made through Just Eat for restaurant partner The Fat Pizza. In addition to being edible, the individual serving packets are naturally biodegradable, decomposing within six weeks. Just Eat has participated in previous eco-friendly initiatives, including reducing carbon emissions by using electric scooters for food deliveries.