The idea for CuanTec first came in 2013 when its founder realized the important volumes of shellfish waste produced in his Scottish town.
CuanTec aims at replacing plastic food wrappers with a biodegradable material extracted from shellfish waste, collected upon local fisheries. The first product developed with the company’s chitosan is an anti-microbial, compostable food contact material (FCM) packaging which reduces spoilage and prolongs shelf-life of fresh food.
The material is made out of a natural biopolymer derived from fermenting shellfish remains. The company extracts biologically a naturally occurring biopolymer called Chitin from the bits of the shellfish and uses a clean, energy-efficient fermentation process to convert it into a more malleable material known as Chitosan. It then mixes this chitosan with other biopolymers and natural substances to create a flexible anti-microbial and compostable bioplastic film, to be used as food packaging.
The particularity of this company is that it used a biological process rather than a chemical, which is much more environmental-friendly and energy-efficient.
There are more 3000 applications over the world. Waitrose supermarkets have already shown interest and may use the new packaging for wrapping some of its fish products, starting with salmon. If successful, CuanTec will expand use of its packaging for more products.