Good practice

Film packaging, reducing fresh produce waste

Film packaging, reducing fresh produce waste
© dedmorozlab, image #170726944, 2017, source:
Materials, Waste, Carbon
Food processing, Wholesale and retail
Associated cost savings: Waste:
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design

Packaging tech tackles fresh food waste

  • Successful trial of gas permeable packaging solution leads to full roll-out
  • Solution has potential to cut product waste by up to 50 % throughout the supply chain and at home

The fruit and vegetable sector has been identified as the second biggest sector in the food, drink and tobacco industry in terms of waste. It accounts for 13 % of waste, second only to meat and poultry at 25 %. This represents a significant business opportunity for organisations throughout the supply chain.

In their guidance on reducing fresh produce waste, Wrap UK highlight four areas of the supply chain in which significant reductions can be achieved. Responsible for 2-3 % of fresh produce waste, packaging is one of these four key areas, fuelling the need for alternative packaging technologies and designs to be developed.

Although skins and peel act as ‘natural packaging’ to protect many fresh products, most can be easily damaged. When given a choice, consumers prefer prepacked produce over loose, self-serve arrangements. Packaging can also extend shelf-life, which can reduce food waste. Packaging optimisation needs to consider the whole supply chain, including the home and ultimate disposal.

One solution, gas permeable packaging film from Evap, controls natural gases released during the respiration process which can help to increase the shelf life of the product. The film controls moisture levels and is aided by a series of tiny laser-perforated holes. The film also protects the product from UV light which can speed up degradation of fresh produce. 

Key benefits

From trials with both Tesco and Asda, leading UK supermarket chains, Evap's gas permeable packaging was able to:

  • Double the shelf life of potato products from four to eight days
  • Help to maintain the nutritional value of the product for longer
  • Reduce product waste levels by up to 50 % throughout the supply chain and at home

Seeing the success of Evap's packaging in their Extra Special Jersey Royal Potatoes range, Asda adopted the solution for many of their packaged sprouts and tomatoes. 

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