Food coating is used to extend the shelf life of many non-durable, perishable raw materials and food products. Edible coatings can prevent changes in colour or texture, growth of undesirable microorganisms and loss of vitamins or minerals. They should minimize negative effects of solar radiation and moisture. Thus, edible coatings and films may contribute to the increasing of the quality and safety of food. The development of edible packaging may be a beneficial and over time, an indispensable alternative to synthetic packaging for inter alia economic and health reasons. Biodegradable edible coatings are more and more often used in many sectors of the food industry in order to reduce both the number of unit packaging and the growing amounts of environment polluting waste. As regards food coatings, new solutions are still sought that would make it possible to produce coatings with the expected functional properties. Antimicrobial substances or nanomaterials included in edible coatings might increase the area of applications thereof and determine the acceptance of such products by consumers. Currently intensive scientific studies are carried out in order to develop effective methods of producing edible coatings and films and to modify their functional properties. In the paper, there were presented profiles of the hitherto used and novel film-forming materials. The methods of their production were characterised as were their applications in the food industry.
food coating, edible coatings, edible films, food quality