How many times have you bought fruit or veg only for it to rot and need to be thrown away?
‘Too many’ is what you’d likely say, but it doesn’t have to be like that.
In the UK, the ‘fruit and veg isle’ in the supermarket has often come under attack for how unenvironmentally-friendly it is. This is mostly because of how much unnecessary plastic packaging there is.
Not only is this packaging damaging to our environment, but it forces people to buy a set amount of fruit and veg, perhaps even more than they would actually use. This, of course, leads to more food waste.
In a bid to try and fix this problem, Asda stores throughout the UK will soon stock produce with a plastic-free, spray-on coating in a bid to help shoppers consume more sustainably.
The coating was made by Californian start-up Apeel Sciences, and it too is made of fruit and veg! Apeel use the seeds, peels, and pulps of different types of produce and then take out all the ‘sturdy bits’ like protein or cellulose.
These by-products are then mixed with water, and voila! It can be sprayed onto the fruit or vegetables to seal in moisture and keep out oxygen, helping them stay fresher for longer (up to twice as long, in fact!)
Asda initially trailed Apeels’ coating on clementines in two of its stores in 2019. This was successful, and so it will be extended to other citrus fruits and avocados across 150 stores.
This will be the first time this type of technology is used on such a vast scale in the UK.
Senior Director of Asda, Dominic Edwards, said, “We are always looking for ways to improve the shelf life of our products and make it easier for our customers to make more sustainable food choices whilst making their money go further.
“During this programme, we will be learning more about the benefits of longer-lasting produce for our customers, and we are looking forward to seeing what further developments this could lead to in the future.”
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As mentioned previously, non-plastic coverings to protect fresh food are constantly being looked for, and many of the British public now say they would prefer to buy their fruit and veg loose.
Sustainability and waste charity Wrap recently published a study showing how single-use plastic wrapping doesn’t even work that well, never mind the fact that it’s polluting the planet.
It’s clear we need better options, and Apeel Sciences is only one of the many companies getting involved.
For example, Israeli start-up TIPA is focused on developing a new type of compostable packaging and is already working with Duchy Organic for Waitrose and fashion brand Stella McCartney.
Switching to the Apeel Sciences coating is the most recent of many decisions Asda has taken to become more sustainable. This is a part of their landmark commitment to halve food waste by 2030.
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