Can new plant-based technology really keep fruits and vegetable fresh for twice as long?
Tesco is trialling Apeel, a solution that creates a peel on produce to slow down water loss and oxidation, in some of its stores to help maintain stocks, reduce packaging and avoid food from being thrown away.
“Tackling food waste is one of the ways we’re working hard to minimise our environmental impact and help protect the planet,” Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Group Quality Director, said. “Apeel could be a powerful tool in helping us cut waste in our supply chain and help customers reduce it in their homes.”
Apeel claims to be the “only proven solution for maintaining freshness from farm to kitchen”. Because of its plant-based derivatives comprised of lipids and glycerolipids, which are found in the skins, peels, and seeds of fresh produce, there are no chemicals or harmful ingredients added to coat fruits and keep them fresh.
The company, founded a decade ago and based in Santa Barbara, Calif., has been active with North American retailers and suppliers, including Calavo, Del Montre, Giumarra, Oppy and Robinson Fresh. One of its main success stories has been avocados, where it says it has seen a 50% reduction in food waste.
For Tesco, those statistics and its conscious environmental lean helped to push the ongoing trial which is set for 80 Tesco Extras and Superstores near Peterborough. Officials hope Apeel can reverse the incredible waste from both retailers and households each year – some 6.6 million tonnes (400,000 tonnes of fruit per day, including 720,000 whole oranges). Among the products that will see the safe-to-eat coatings are Jaffa Oranges, Jaffa Sweet Easy Peelers and Lemons.
Tesco has forged several initiatives over the past decade on food waste, including send no waste to landfills, creating community partnerships with charities such as FareShare and removing best before dates on 180-plus lines of fruits and vegetables.