Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

Tesco to reduce food waste with new packaging

Tesco to reduce food waste with new packaging

Supermarket giant Tesco is the latest to try new packaging that should help reduce the amount of food wasted. Charlotte Reid has more.

Tesco is to trial new packaging for its fruit and vegetables in an attempt to help reduce food waste and keep the produce fresh.

The packaging includes a strip that removes ethylene, a hormone that makes fruit and vegetables ripen.

The strip was developed by Its Fresh and Tesco estimates that it will lead to a saving of 1.6m packs of tomatoes and avocados, the products which create the most waste in the food industry.

Tesco ambient salad and avocado technologist, Steve Debble, 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”.

If the trial is successful, the packaging will be introduced across stores by Easter.

Marks and Spencer were the first retailers to announce that it was using the new strips, back in January.

M&S began by rolling out strawberry punnets with the ethylene strips. It said that trials of the packaging saw a minimum wastage saving of 4% and want to extend the packaging to all berries.

Food waste is a problem; the Government’s waste adviser WRAP says that shoppers in the UK are throwing away on average 10% of their weekly shop. However, work is being done.

A report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) into sustainable retail said that shops and brands have spent over £10m into helping customers reduce their food waste.

There is another issue, which is that supermarkets have been told that packaging undermines the efforts of shoppers who are recycling. The BRC’s report explains that packaging is needed saying that, “Packaging plays a vital role in protecting and preserving products. Without it, a significantly greater proportion of both food and non-food products would be wasted, with far greater environmental consequences”.

But work is taking place to design packaging to improve its recyclability. The report particularly praised Morrisons which has reduced its packaging by 15% between 2007 and 2010. This was done by reducing the thickness of the film used on bags of fruit and vegetables and using recycled packaging instead.

But retail has to continue to make themselves, and their customers, more sustainable.

Show supermarkets that environmental behaviour is a necessity by shopping at places that know how important sustainability is. We recommend visiting the Ethical Superstore.

Picture source: Clive Darr

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