UK – Asda, a British supermarket chain, has partnered with Apeel Sciences, a fresh produce shelf-life extension specialist, to provide plant-based protection to its citrus and avocados in about 150 stores, hence prolonging their shelf life and ultimately preventing food waste.
“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,” said Dominic Edwards, Senior Director, Asda.
This will debut Apeel’s technology’s wide scale use in the United Kingdom (UK), aiding Asda move towards its target of cutting waste by 50% by 2030.
A recent report by Xcess, a charity network, which found that at least 200,000 tonnes of own-label supermarket food that would be fit for human consumption went to animal feed and energy-from-waste in 2021, has placed supermarkets under pressure to do more to reduce food waste .
“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,” Said Edwards.
The supermarket first tried the innovation on clementines, a citrus fruit hybrid, sold at two of its stores in 2019.
Edie indicates that Asda has notably committed to removing three billion pieces of single-use plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2025, against a 2018 baseline. This commitment ties in with a pledge to ensure all own-brand packaging is fully recyclable by 2025.
Made using food-grade ingredients
Apeel’s plant- based protection is made from the proteins and cellulose found in peels, seeds and pulp of all fruits and vegetables, mixed with water, which is then sprayed onto the products.
Its aim is to slow down the senescence process. It works by sealing moisture in and keeping oxygen out so that quality and freshness can be maintained for longer, giving customers longer to enjoy their produce and thus helping to prevent food waste.
Apeel’s plant-based protection is available for an ever-growing number of categories and markets, including organic and conventionally grown produce.
According to information on its website, it only uses food-grade ingredients in the production of the innovative material, implying it is safe to eat. It has been approved for produce in the US and by the European Commission.
James Rogers, the CEO of Apeel noted that Asda is obsessed with helping their customers’ budgets stretch farther indicating that with the availability of longer-lasting produce, Asda had opened a new dimension of value for their shoppers.
“When shoppers have more time with their food, more of what they buy gets eaten instead of thrown away. How often does saving money help save the planet? It’s happening every day at Asda,” he said.
Headquartered in Leeds, ASDA is the UK’s third-largest supermarket by market share, employing more than 140,000 colleagues and serving over 18m customers every week in its 633 stores. In October 2020, ASDA was acquired from Walmart by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital, a British private equity firm.
Meanwhile, Tesco has also said it will introduce Apeel to 80 Tesco Extra and Superstores in the Peterborough area for its Jaffa oranges, sweet easy peelers and lemons.
“Apeel could be a powerful tool in helping us cut waste in our supply chain and help customers reduce it in their homes,” said Sarah Bradbury, Quality Director, Tesco group.