Thymol (THY)/gamma-Cyclodextrin(gamma-CD) inclusion complex (IC) encapsulated electrospun zein nanofibrous webs (zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF) were fabricated as a food packaging material. The formation of THY/gamma-CD-IC (1:1 and 2:1) was proved by experimental (X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), H-1 NMR) and computational techniques. THY/gamma-CD-IC (2:1) exhibited higher preservation rate and stability than THY/gamma-CD-IC (1:1). It is worth mentioning that zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (2:1) preserved much more THY as observed in TGA and stability of THY/gamma-CD-IC (2:1) was higher, as shown by a modelling study. Therefore, much more THY was released from zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (2:1) than zein-THY-NF and zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (1:1). Similarly, antibacterial activity of zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (2:1) was higher than zein-THY-NF and zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (1:1). It was demonstrated that zein-THY/gamma-CD-IC-NF (2:1) was most effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria on meat samples. These webs show potential application as an antibacterial food packaging material. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.