British supermarket chain Tesco to launch trial of new packaging with a strip that absorbs ethylene, which causes produce to ripen; if successful, company will transition 80% of tomato varieties to new packaging

LOS ANGELES , February 8, 2012 () –

Tesco PLC will test a new packaging on its tomatoes and avocadoes to see if they stay fresher longer, in an effort to cut down on the British supermarket chain’s food waste, reported the Guardian on Feb. 7.

If the trial is successful, the packaging will be rolled out to 80% of the tomato varieties that Tesco sells. This could start by Easter, said Steve Deeble, Tesco’s ambient salad and avocado technologist.

The company estimates that the annual reduction in waste could be as many as 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados. Using the new packaging would not result in a cost increase for shoppers, said Tesco, the Guardian reported

The innovative packaging has a strip that absorbs ethylene, the hormone in fruit that causes it to ripen and turn moldy. The developer, U.K.-based It’s Fresh Ltd., claims its packaging is 100 times more effective than any competing materials.

In addition to potentially saving the produce industry tens of millions of pounds a year by delaying spoilage at the store, the Fresh packaging also allows customers to keep fruits and vegetables longer at home, said Deeble, reported the Guardian.

Tests further down the supply chain have showed positive results for the Fresh packaging, which can be used for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Last month, British retailer Marks & Spencer Group PLC began using the packaging for its strawberries, after trials indicated at least a 4% reduction in waste.

The primary source of this article is the Guardian, London, England, on Feb. 7, 2012.


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