Market News

 February 08, 2012
Tesco to tackle food waste with "revolutionary" packaging trial

 Tesco has this week announced it will become the latest retailer to deploy a new packaging technology that promises to slash levels of food waste.

The supermarket giant said it will work with UK-based firm It's Fresh Ltd to trial a patented strip containing a mixture of high-tech minerals and clay that absorbs ethylene, a hormone that causes fruit to ripen and turn mouldy.

The company plans to trial the technology in packs of tomatoes and avocados, predicting that the simple 8cm by 4.5cm strip has the potential to cut waste equivalent to 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados each year.

The trial marks the second major deal for It's Fresh in recent weeks, after Marks & Spencer announced a similar trial to deploy the technology in strawberry punnets.

The manufacturer claims the strips are 100 times more effective than any similar existing materials and do not affect the recyclability of plastic packaging.

Tesco ambient salad and avocado technologist Steve Deeble hailed the technology as "a major breakthrough in the fight to combat food waste [that] could save the fresh produce industry tens of millions of pounds each year".

He added that the company was confident the trial would prove successful. "We have already trialled the packaging in a storage environment and all the signs are that this could be one of the most significant developments in packaging for many years so now we want to know what our customers think of it," he said. "If the trials prove to be a success then we could start rolling out the packaging by Easter."