The latest food waste initiative is all about innovation in the packaging space with the pilot of a new fully recyclable pulp punnet designed to prolong the shelf life of mushrooms by keeping out condensation.
According to the supermarket, shoppers are often deterred from buying mushrooms in traditional plastic punnets because condensation can form inside leading to faster deterioration, consequently adding to food waste volumes because the mushrooms have to be thrown away.
The 100% recyclable packaging is the latest initiative as part of the retailer’s on-going strategy to cut food waste from farm-to-fork, which includes a commitment that no food fit for human consumption will be wasted by the end of this year.
“Aesthetically the punnets have a more natural look and feel which we hope will address the customers concerns about the plastic punnets,” says Tesco buying manager James Cantoni.
“The punnets are made from fully recyclable material and allows for moisture to be absorbed, whilst still maintaining integrity.
“In a standard plastic punnet, moisture cannot be absorbed and sits in the bottom of the container. This exposure can lead to increased deterioration of the mushrooms by becoming discoloured and soft. These new punnets will prevent that.”
In March Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, who is also the head of the coalition Champions 12.3, said it’s time for businesses to put the topic of food waste “on the boardroom agenda”, calling for industry to invest in fighting the problem, not just for sustainability and ethical reasons, but also for the return on investment that this brings.
Throughout the year Tesco has stepped up its fight against food waste with the launch of several initiatives such as the new online food waste hotline for suppliers and producers to identify specific areas where food waste is prevalent within the supply chain and report their findings to the retailer.
It has also been buying up larger than usual amounts of vegetable crops, like cauliflower and carrots, from UK growers with an abundance this season due to a mild winter and warmer temperatures recently.
In addition, the supermarket also launched its new juicing bag of slightly blemished Seville oranges from a Spanish supplier who would have ordinarily dumped the citrus because it wasn’t perfect. But Tesco stepped in to buy the slightly discoloured or blotchy citrus from the Rio Tinto producer to create a bag marketed especially for juicing.