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New project to investigate how to reduce the wastage of fresh produce by consumers

East Malling Research (EMR) is leading a new project supported by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) that aims to help consumers reduce their fresh fruit and vegetable food waste.

Currently, a large amount of food bought in the UK is thrown away and about 40% (by weight) of food thrown away that could have been eaten, is fresh fruit and vegetables. There is considerable scope to improve this situation through better management in the home.

The project will provide unique data on fresh fruit and vegetables storage and wastage in the home and how the consumer can use simple methods to prolong freshness. This will be achieved by:

• Gaining information from consumers on how they currently manage the storage of fresh fruit and vegetables in the home and on the types of products that are commonly wasted and the reason for rejection.

• Assembling an easy to understand scale of relative perishability for different types of fruits and vegetables, to aid the consumer with best storage practice.

• Developing and testing simple methods to prolong the freshness of fruit and vegetables in the home.

• Reviewing the advice given by the major retailers to consumers about storage of fresh fruit and vegetables and suggesting improvements

• Providing information to WRAP and retailers to advise consumers about methods to ensure they consume a higher proportion of the products they purchase.

Project manager Dr Neil Hipps said ‘Consumers have told us that they need better advice on how to store their fruit and vegetable properly to retain freshness. Working with our project partners and WRAP we shall provide this information underpinned by scientific experiments.’

Project partners include Sainsbury’s, Reading Scientific Services Ltd (RSSL), Food Refrigeration and Process Engineering Research Centre at the University of Bristol and Mack Multiples Division.

Ursula Twomey | alfa
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