Asda and Tesco are trialling a new plant-based technology for fruits to extend their shelf life and reduce food waste.
Called Apeel, the plant-based protection is used on fruits and vegetables to seal moisture in and keep oxygen out and slow their rate of spoilage, keeping them fresher for up to twice as long.
The technology is made from the same materials found in peels, seeds and pulp and its aim is to slow down the spoiling process.
The UK throws away 6.6 million tonnes of household food waste a year, out of which 400,000 tonnes are fruits.
Every day, around 720,000 whole oranges are thrown away.
The trial will see around 80 Tesco Extras and Superstores around the Peterborough area stock Apeel-coated Jaffa Oranges, Jaffa Sweet Easy Peelers and Lemon Packs to understand the effects it has on shelf life.
It will be put through Tesco customer panels for feedback.
Apeel also has the potential to reduce plastic packaging as the shelf life of cucumbers is currently extended using plastic wrap, which would no longer be needed is the plant-based technology is able to replicate the protective benefit of packaging.
Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Group Quality Director said: “Tackling food waste is one of the ways we’re working hard to minimise our environmental impact and help protect the planet. Apeel could be a powerful tool in helping us cut waste in our supply chain and help customers reduce it in their homes.”
Asda also hopes the technology will support the supermarket’s target of cutting waste by 50% by 2030.
Asda Senior Director Dominic Edwards added: “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.
“We are really excited to be working with Apeel – bringing the great work they’ve been doing globally, to our UK customers. 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.”