AbstractCellulose derivatives, i.e. cellulose functionalized in a solvent state with various side groups, are an important source of biomaterials for food packaging. This review considers the following materials: i) cellophane, ii) cellulose acetate, iii) methylcellulose, and iv) carboxymethylcellulose. Mechanical and barrier properties are important for freestanding packaging films as well as for coatings. The potential of the selected cellulose derivatives and cellophane is thus examined from the viewpoint of their tensile properties as well as their moisture and oxygen barrier properties. The capacity of microcrystalline cellulose and nano-sized celluloses to reinforce the films and to help impede gas diffusion is examined for microfibrillar celluloses, nanocrystalline celluloses, and whiskers. Very good oxygen barrier properties have been reported for cellophane. Nanocellulose fillers have regularly been shown to enhance the tensile properties of several cellulose derivatives, but the effects on the water vapor permeability (WVP) have been studied less often.