Engineering effective food preservation methods to reduce food waste isn’t a modern – or even relatively modern – phenomenon. It is an important chapter in human history. Freezing, drying, pickling, all the conventional methods of food preservation, were vital innovations to help society advance and grow.
However, many of these methods are unable to curb the waste prevalent in our food system. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of the food produced for human consumption every year – approximately – 1.3 billion tons is wasted, with much of this loss coming in transit. This includes an almost impossible-to-believe 50 percent of all fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers, which have the highest wastage of any food.1
In 1927, a DuPont chemist invented the nitrocellulose coatings that allowed for cellophane to be used in the packaging of products with high moisture content, including food. Since that time, DuPont has continued to develop solutions to protect and extend the life of food products. For example, in the 1960s when DuPont™ Surlyn® was introduced, it was quickly adopted by the processed meat industry because the leak rate for packages dropped from almost 10 percent to less than 1 percent. This significantly reduced waste off the machine and at the retailer.