Apeel partnership slashes retailer's citrus, avocado waste
Food technology company Apeel and U.K. grocery giant Asda have seen success through an ongoing partnership in store locations across the United Kingdom that has reduced year-over-year in-store food waste in the citrus and avocado categories, compared to control stores. Asda locations offering Apeel-protected produce saw a 36 percent decrease in citrus waste and 10 percent decrease in avocado waste, when compared to control stores.
Asda and Apeel’s partnership began in 2019 with the success of a small trial where Apeel-protected produce was offered in a limited number of stores. This led to an expansion of the program to 150 stores across the U.K. Not only is this helping Asda to achieve its goal of reducing food waste by 20 percent by 2025 but is also positively impacting customer sentiment toward Asda’s sustainability goals. Seventy percent of shoppers agreed that Apeel made them “believe Asda cares about reducing food waste” and 57% agree that Apeel “makes (them) believe Asda is a champion for sustainability.”
The introduction of Apeel’s plant-based protection, an edible, plant-based coating that extends the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables by keeping moisture in and oxygen out, also allowed for an extended window of fresh on shelf and in the home. This shelf-life extension coincided with a 6 percent sales increase in oranges when comparing Apeel vs. control stores.
"ASDA has a commitment to be net zero by 2040. Through Apeel and other food waste reducing initiatives, that can really help in terms of our carbon footprint,” said Karen Todd, senior manager of the sustainability team at ASDA.
In taking further efforts to meet its reduction target, Asda has removed the best-before dates on almost 250 fruit and vegetable products, giving grocers the power to decide what produce is right for them to consume. Many people are unaware that food waste contributes to 8-10 percent of climate emissions per year, and it’s an issue that exists on every level of the food supply chain from growers to consumers.
Not only does wasted produce contribute to emissions, but it also takes money out of people's pockets. “In an environment where inflation is a huge problem, more bang for your buck is important,” said Camille Hanna, regional director of sales for Apeel. “ASDA is able to give their consumers more time with the fruits and vegetables that they buy, so they’re wasting less.”
Through Apeel’s plant-based protection, quality and freshness becomes a guarantee. With a longer shelf life, Apeel-protected produce allows consumers to better plan and grocery shop for the week’s meals, and stock up with confidence that they’ll be able to enjoy what they buy, saving time and money for consumers amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
“As we roll forward with Apeel, you know, I wouldn’t want the product to be exclusive to us,” said Mike Snell, managing director IPL for Asda. “They should be making it with everybody. If the technology’s that good, and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t, then it could be applied on everything. And then you’d save, I mean, billions of tons of plastic.”