Marks & Spencer’s introduces groundbreaking food package to extend fruit shelf life
M&S established a technique that will see the retail industry save 800,000 strawberries in the coming season. It involves an 8cm by4.5cm plaster-style strip manufactured by British firm, It’s Fresh.
It is estimated that this measure will reduce food waste by 40,000 punnets a week, totalling up to 800,000 strawberries, by prolonging their shelf life in the fridge with two additional days.
M&S promises to move forward with their sustainability policy to compete with all other supermarkets in becoming the most sustainable major retailer by 2014. Today, M&S revealed their revolutionary packaging that will avoid food waste in the hope of becoming a key example for other supermarket chains to follow.
A mixture of clay and minerals are patented in the strip, which absorb ethylene. Ethylene is a hormone that causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy. The addition of the strip during production will come at no additional cost to the consumer. This package is now firstly available to strawberries and will soon be produced for other food products.
“This technology is a win-win for our customers,” said Hugh Mowat, an agronomist at M&S. “Not only will their strawberries taste better for longer, but we really hope it will help them reduce their food waste as they no longer need to worry about eating as soon as they buy them.”
The British strawberry season starts from April and M&S gets around 1mln punnets per week during this period. This type of technology will help drop the levels of supermarket carbon footprint and will at the same time increase logistic benefits of strawberries that are imported from Egypt, Morocco, Spain and Israel.
Supermarkets such as ASDA had a similar idea last year to prolong freshness in the produces on their shelves, but abandoned it due to additional costs to their production. However, it is a topic that cannot be avoided as the government are urging companies to cut waste from their stores to a minimum.
It’s Fresh Director Simon Lee said: “Reducing food waste is a huge mandate for retailers. Improving shelf life and quality means people will be more satisfied with a product and ultimately consume more of it.”