20 July 2020
Author: Kathryn Bishop & Alex Hawkins
As explored in Educated Eating, grocers have a responsibility to educate consumers about food sourcing and provenance. Yet, when it comes to freshness, consumers remain conflicted about what’s edible. According to Too Good to Go, 53% of Europeans are reportedly unable to tell the difference between best-before and use-by dates.
‘The way food and drink is packaged, labelled and priced can influence household food waste, and retailers and brands are uniquely placed to help minimise food waste in the home,’ explains Peter Maddox, director at Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). And while more intelligent packaging solutions and Smart Food Storage have emerged, growing awareness about packaging is pushing innovations in ‘naked’ concepts – stickers, second skins and pH-sensitive dyes that preserve and monitor food freshness without traditional packaging.
Stixfresh fruit stickers are like the labels found on bananas and oranges, except they're all-natural and made with a wax that ‘creates a protective layer around your fruit’. According to the company, the stickers help to slow down the natural ripening process, extending freshness by up to 14 days, while also boosting moisture retention.
Apeel Sciences, meanwhile, is responding to the finding that, in the US alone, 40% of all food goes to waste (source: NRDC). It’s innovated a second skin that adds a layer of plant-derived protection to the surface of produce to slow water loss and oxidation – factors that cause spoilage. ‘Fruit and vegetables already have packaging in the form of skins and peels, and Apeel is drawing on what nature already creates to help the industry increase the sustainability of its offerings,’ explains Michelle Masek, communications adviser at Apeel Sciences.