A solution to our waste problem is to not create any waste in the first place.

But what is the biggest reason that, in both our homes and in the food service industry, we throw away food? The 'best before date'.

Researchers hope that in the future we will no longer have to follow expiration dates because the packaging itself will be able to indicate when food turns bad. 'Modified atmosphere packaging' (MAP) is being researched at the University of Lancaster. In a protective atmosphere, gases are inserted inside the packaging making food decay slower than in packaging with ordinary air.

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Mills explains: 'At the moment we throw out far too much food which is environmentally and economically damaging. Modified atmosphere packaging is being increasingly used to contain the growth of organisms which spoil food. However, the costs of the labels currently used with it are substantial. We are aiming to eliminate this cost with new plastics for the packaging industry.' 

Read more about smart and edible packaging in the Food Inspiration Magazine.