UK supermarket Asda is trialing an innovative fruit coating technology in a bid to reduce its plastic usage and cut down on food waste.
The coating, created by California-based food technology company Apeel Sciences, is plant-derived and water-based. It reportedly acts as an invisible peel, keeping food fresh for longer.
In addition, Asda says the coating could also reduce how much post-harvest pesticides are needed on food.
While the coating is already used in some US stores including Costco, on foods including apples, limes, and lemons, this is the first time the coating has been used in the UK, after it was was granted approval for use by the EU Commission in June.
Asda, which is trialing the coating in two of its UK stores – Chatham in Kent and Glasshoughton in Yorkshire, will use it on a shipment on clementines.
"We’re always looking at how we can reduce food waste right the way through our supply chain and into our customers' homes,” said Nasir Ahmed, produce technical manager at Asda.
"Increasing shelf life means our customers can enjoy fresher produce for longer, so we're really excited about the potential of Apeel and I’m delighted Asda is part of this trial."
'Food waste crisis'
"As a true innovator and sustainability leader, Asda is our first UK retail partner to demonstrate its commitment to fighting the global food waste crisis, starting with Apeel mandarins that stay fresh much longer," added Gordon Robertson, chief revenue officer at Apeel Sciences.
"This commercial test will be the next step in validating Apeel's ability to make an impact on reducing food waste in stores and for consumers, with the goal of Apeel produce arriving on shelves at more Asda stores and other retailers across Europe."