Consumers will soon be able to cook ready-prepared meals without removing the packaging when a new range of edible film is launched which dissolves when cooked.
The film is supplied by Cambridge Consultants and film supplier Enak.
The joint venture is developing the first applications for a range of the new films, which are soluble in hot or cold water.
The films have already been approved by the Food & Drug Administration in the US.
Although the films are likely to face problems of consumer acceptance, they have a number of positive applications, according to Cambridge Consultants.
As well as forming an integral part of a ready-made meal, for example, and dissolving during cooking, the films could also be used to provide accurate dosing sachets for cleaning products which dissolve when placed in water.
There have been a number of experiments with edible film for food before – the University of California has produced an edible film made from whey, a cheese by-product, although there are still problems with it.
The US Navy has tested a similar collagen-based film to wrap meat on board ship, since it is not allowed to dump plastic wrapping in the sea.