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Tesco trials new ‘clay’ strip to reduce food waste

February 8, 2012 1 Comment » Print Print

Retail giant Tesco is the latest supermarket to trial new packaging that will keep fruit and vegetables fresher, in a bid to reduce food waste

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Photo of tesco It claims that it will become the first retailer to see how the packaging performs in prolonging the freshness of tomatoes and avocados – produce that triggers the highest wastage in the food industry.

The packaging is a small plaster-style strip called It’s Fresh! The firm It’s Fresh is part of the Food Freshness Technology (FFT) group of companies.

The strip contains a patented mixture of clay and other minerals that absorb ethylene, the ripening hormone which causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy.

Initial trials further down the supply chain have been a success and suggest the device could be used across a wide range of fruit and vegetables. There will be no added cost to shoppers, according to Tesco.

‘Fight to combat food waste’

Tesco ambient salad and avocado technologist Steve Deeble said: “The packaging is a major breakthrough in the fight to combat food waste and could save the fresh produce industry tens of millions of pounds each year.

“But it will also mean that shoppers will be able to keep fruit and vegetables for longer without feeling pressured to eat them within days of buying them.

“We have already trialled the packaging in a storage environment and all the signs are there that this could be one of the most significant developments in packaging for many years so now we want to know what our customers think of it.”

Deeble said if the trials were a success “we could start rolling out the packaging by Easter”.

Last month, Marks & Spencer launched the packaging for all its strawberries.

Trials in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4% – which during the peak strawberry season would equate to 40,000 packs or about 800,000 strawberries.

M&S said that it was committed to reducing waste as part of its programme to be the world’s most sustainable retailer, and hopes to extend the packaging to all berries.

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