UK: Tesco to trial new packaging aimed at fresh produce waste reduction

Tesco has become the latest of the big chain grocery stores to try out new packaging that it hopes will keep its fresh lines fresh. The trials will begin with packaging for tomatoes and avocados as these are known to be the lines most wasted throughout the country.

It is reported that, if successful, the new packaging could lead to a saving of 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350 000 packs of avocado each year.

The new packaging makes use of a simple 8cm by 4.5cm strip that absorbs ethylene, the hormone that leads to ripening and eventually to rotting. The strip itself was developed by the company, It’s Fresh Limited, who claim that the strip is 100 times more effective than any alternatives currently available.

The UK newspaper, the Guardian, has reported that initial trials have proved successful, suggesting that the packaging could soon be seen in Tesco stores across the country. Tesco, meanwhile, has said that the introduction of the new packaging will not lead to increased prices for consumers.

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 would 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.”

He went on to say that if the trials were a success Tesco “could start rolling out the packaging by Easter”.

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

UK: Marks & Spencer introduces packaging for ‘longer-living’ fruit