Scientists have developed packaging which could help keep food fresh for longer.

They presented their findings at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The packaging film ‘coated with clay nanotubes packed with an antibacterial essential oil’ keeps products fresher. In tests, bananas, tomatoes and chicken were wrapped in the new packaging and after 10 days were ‘better preserved than the control vegetables’.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, between 30% and 40% of food produced by farmers is wasted. This new innovation could help reduce that loss.

“Food packaging that is capable of interacting with food can contribute to safety and prevent economic losses from spoilage,” Dr Hayriye Ünal, from Sabanci University in Turkey, said. “Specialized films that can preserve a wide array of foods are highly sought after.”

More testing will need to be carried out to ensure the film is ‘safe and nontoxic’, Ünal said, before ‘moving this technology to industry’.