When Tesco fruit buyer Jess McKenzie visited an organic orange producer in Seville to source sweet easy peelers and whole fruit, she noticed how blemished and smaller than average oranges were being dumped.
“After the orange grove tour, we were looking around the pack house, when I noticed a huge bin of organic oranges. The grower explained that these didn’t meet the specification for our organic orange pack,” she says.
“Some would go for juicing and some would get wasted. I looked at the oranges and apart from them being smaller with a few cosmetic defects, there was nothing wrong with the fruit. They tasted great and I didn’t want them going to waste.
“I thought we could use this “binned” crop to create an organic orange juicing pack.”
This was the start of Tesco’s new juicing bag full of slightly blemished oranges which are still good to eat whole or ideal for juicing.
For Spanish growers Rio Tinto it meant the supermarket would take more of their crop, less edible fruit will be wasted and Tesco can offer a new product to customers.
“The demand for organic products has consistently grown so this felt like a win-win for all parties,” adds McKenzie.
Trendy fruit that’s tricky to prepare
Earlier this week, Tesco also launched its hassle-free frozen fruit and vegetable range including fully prepared watermelon, coconut, pomegranates and beetroot.
These fruit and vegetable items have become very popular in the UK recently in recipes and ingredients for smoothies – but often customers are put off because of the inconvenience and hassle of cutting and preparing the produce.
“Anyone who’s ever tried getting the seeds out of a pomegranate to add outstanding flavour to a salad or tried breaking open a coconut will know how fiddly it can be,” says Tesco frozen food buyer Marianne Aitken.
“Our new frozen range is a delicious and hassle free way to help assemble that eye-catching dish. Frozen fruit options are becoming increasingly popular with shoppers, who are looking for simple ways to eat a wide range of fruits, without the preparation time associated with fresh varieties.”
Tesco says that over the last year demand for ready prepared frozen fruit slices has increased 35%, while the supermarket’s frozen smoothie range, including fruit and vegetable mixes, has seen sales increase by almost 100%.
The retailer adds that these innovative lines also contribute to reducing food waste in the home and support Tesco’s commitment to help halve all UK food waste by 2025.