Next week M&S will become the first major retailer to roll out ground-breaking new packaging which it claims will extend the life of fruit stored in the fridge by up to two days, helping to cut domestic food waste.
The supermarket will add a small plaster-style strip at the bottom of punnets of strawberries, containing a patented mixture of clay and other minerals that absorb ethylene – the ripening hormone which causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy. The strip measures 8cm x 4.5cm and does not affect the recyclability of the packaging, and the retailer claims there is no extra cost to the consumer of the packaging. If successful, it will be added to all the supermarkets' berries.
Trials carried out in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4% – during the peak strawberry season this would equate to 40,000 packs, or about 800,000 strawberries. M&S says it is committed to reducing waste as part of its Plan A programme to be the world's most sustainable retailer.
Hugh Mowat, M&S Agronomist, said: "This new technology is a win-win for our customers – not only will their strawberries taste better for longer, but we really hope it will help them to reduce their food waste as they no longer need to worry about eating their strawberries as soon as they buy them."