Asda is using Apeel's plant-based coating on citrus and avocados at 150 of its stores throughout the UK.
Thanks to an ongoing partnership with food technology company Apeel Sciences, UK grocer Asda is beginning to make positive strides toward reaching its goal of reducing food waste by 20% by 2025. Apeel’s edible, plant-based coating extends the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables by keeping moisture in and oxygen out.
When compared to control stores, Asda locations that offer Apeel-protected produce saw a 36% year-over-year decrease in citrus waste and 10% decrease in avocado waste. The extended shelf life offered by the coating also coincided with a +6% sales increase in oranges.
"Asda has a commitment to be net zero by 2040,” said Karen Todd, senior manager of the sustainability team at Asda. “Through Apeel and other food waste reducing initiatives, that can really help in terms of our carbon footprint.”
Asda began its partnership with Apeel in 2019 with a small trial at select locations, then expanded to 150 stores throughout the United Kingdom. In addition to reaching its food waste reduction goals, the grocer also saw positive customer sentiment regarding its sustainability. Some 70% of shoppers said Apeel made them “believe Asda cares about reducing food waste” and 57% said Apeel “makes (them) believe Asda is a champion for sustainability.”
“In an environment where inflation is a huge problem, more bang for your buck is important,” said Camille Hanna, regional director of sales for Goleta, Calif.-based Apeel. “Asda is able to give their consumers more time with the fruits and vegetables that they buy, so they’re wasting less.”
In October, Apeel revealed two innovative technology solutions that will allow stakeholders across the entire fresh produce supply chain to instantly determine the ripeness of avocados. The first solution uses advanced imaging technology and machine learning to increase visibility into the internal quality and ripeness of avocados, allowing producers and grocery retailers to make more informed sorting, shipping and merchandising decisions.
The Apeel RipeFinder, meanwhile, is meant for grocery shoppers to use and features a consumer-friendly user interface. It can reveal information such as “Your avocado is ready for a salad” or “Your avocado will be ready in about four days."