New M&S packaging to help cut food waste
Marks and Spencer are the first retailers to use new technology which should help customers to waste less food. Charlotte Reid has more.
Starting on Monday January 9th, Marks and Spencer will roll out punnets of strawberries with “It’s Fresh” strips, which are supposed to keep food fresher for two days longer.
The strip works by removing ethylene – a hormone in fruit that causes it to ripen and then turn mouldy.
Hugh Mowat, Marks and Spencer’s agronomist, an expert in agricultural science, said, “This new technology is a win-win for our customers – not only will their strawberries taste better for longer, but really hope it will help them to reduce their food waste as they no longer need to worry about eating their strawberries as soon as they buy them”.
Simon Lee, It’s Fresh director, said, “Our technology is focused on food freshness designed to increase consumer satisfaction, taste and quality, through simple, safe, sustainable solutions.
“We are delighted to be pioneering this British technology with M&S on strawberries and are currently working on other products that will be in-store in the near future.”
Fruit packaging is controversial; supermarkets have been told they are undermining shopper’s efforts to recycle by using unnecessary packaging. But retailers say packaging is needed to protect the products and Marks and Spencer say that the punnets are still recyclable.
But something needs to be done to stop people from wasting food.
Last year, Blue & Green Tomorrow wrote about how shoppers in the UK are throwing away, on average, 10% of their weekly shop.
The figures from WRAP, the Government’s waste adviser, revealed that 8% of shoppers regularly waste a quarter of the food they buy. And 46% admitted to not knowing the correct way to store food.
During trials of the new packaging, Marks and Spencer claims there was a minimum wastage saving of 4%. But during peak strawberry season the shop says this should mean 800,000 strawberries are not wasted.
Sainsbury’s have a different approach to stop people wasting food which involves working alongside WRAP and training their staff in stores to give customers advice on the issue.
So even though supermarkets are criticised for unnecessary packaging, Emma Marsh, from Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, says, “The industry has a huge role to play in helping reduce the amount of food we waste”.
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