A new edible and cook-able ’meat coat’ that promises to extend the shelf life for fresh meat by up to three days is set to be ready for commercial testing within the next six months.

The coat - made from natural lipids, carbohydrates, proteins and other compounds - is sprayed directly on to meat and is taste-free. One litre of MeatCoat solution costs €1.53 (£1.25) and is sufficient to coat 13 sq m of meat.

The European Livestock and Meat Trades Union, which has been working on the technology as part of a £1.6m EU-backed project, believes it could ultimately replace plastic vacuum packaging and reduce food and packaging waste.

“Consumers will be able to maintain the good quality of meat for longer with this coating, while at the same time reducing food waste,” said a spokeswoman. The coating also helped keep “the natural juiciness of meat” and reduced natural water loss, she added.

Initial research was completed last week and results had been “promising,” with industry tests to follow over the next six months, she said.

MeatCoat is funded through the EU’s Seventh Framework fund.