Tuesday, 07. January 2020

Edible protective cover keeps fruit and vegetables fresh longer

Almost one third of the food produced in Germany ends up in the garbage. According to a recent WWF study, this is almost 18 million tons. Doing without packaging often means doing without long shelf life and freshness. The coating process is intended to kill two birds with one stone: the innovative technology does without packaging waste and guarantees fresh food a longer shelf life. The Rewe Group was the first food retailer in Germany to introduce this process. It is an edible packaging.

And this is how the invisible coating works: According to information from the Lebensmittelzeitung, fruits are given a thin edible coating that reduces cell respiration and is intended to keep them fresh for longer. This coating consists of a mixture of natural sugar residues, cellulose and vegetable oils and can be applied by spraying or dipping the fruit. According to the British manufacturer AgriCoat Nature Seal, the coating is edible, well tolerated and neutral in taste and smell. The coatings would reduce the spoilage of fresh fruit and make it last twice as long. Since the beginning of November, Rewe has already been testing the naturally packed fruits in sales.

A few weeks ago Edeka followed suit – with a slightly different protective coating. The retailer has coated avocados with a coating of vegetable material from the US company Apeel Sciences. This consists of ingredients that are usually found in the peel, seeds and pulp of various fruits and vegetables, as Edeka writes in a press release. The shell slows down the loss of water and the penetration of oxygen, so that fruit and vegetables can be kept for longer. “Apeel is a natural answer to the question of how fresh fruit and vegetables can be preserved for longer and, on top of that, plastic packaging can be saved”, Markus Mosa, Chairman of the Board of EDEKA AG, makes clear.

The “second skin” for fruit and vegetables should be available in Edeka stores all over Germany in 2020. The Rewe Group has already extended its coating test to Austrian markets. The alternative packaging is picking up speed and will continue to establish itself in supermarkets this year. A process that could revolutionise food retailing – edible packaging for environmental protection and against food waste.

Strautmann Umwelttechnik GmbH