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Supermarkets to combat food waste

In theentire food chain, 2 billion Euro worth of food is wasted every week. InDutch supermarkets alone, 1 million Euro is wasted every day, mainlyvegetables, fruit, bread and dairy. How can supermarkets ensure thatfood waste is limited?

Meals from residual waste at Ekoplaza
Organic supermarket chain Ekoplaza sells meals that are made from residues offruit and vegetables. The supermarket chain wants to process an even biggerpart of these residues in a high-quality manner, and will soon also offerorganic compost and potting soil made from these residues. Steven IJzerman,Quality employee at Udea, says the meals are a success. After it becameapparent that fresh produce is the biggest source of residual waste, Udeadecided to do something about this. There was a lot of waste in their owncutting plant, and sometimes a pallet is rejected for quality reasons.

Plus combats food waste with ‘OverLekker’
PLUS, inconjunction with Hutten and Wageningen UR, has started a pilot for food reuse.The supermarket chain will make residues of tomatoes and onions from its storesavailable for the production of a new brand of tomato soup and tomato sauce:‘OverLekker’. Tomatoes and onions that are slightly damaged, are often leftover. These are still high quality though, and ideal for use in soups orsauces. PLUS already donates wares to food banks, and makes them available forfood recycling. “With this new initiative, we’re taking a new step in the reuseof residues. Thanks to this partnership with Hutten, we are using residualtomatoes and onions for delicious and natural products,” says Eric Leebeek,commercial director at PLUS.

Juices and stews in UK
In the United Kingdom, a million tonnes of food is wasted every year. Sometimesproducts in the store are past their expiration date, but still very muchedible. Jon Barfoot of Barfoots of Botley believes there are trends thatrespond to this, and that can ensure less food will be thrown away. For theproduction of juices, for instance, lower quality fruit and vegetables can alsobe used. That applies to the production of stews as well. Jon explains thatwhen marketing is improved, bags with cheaper quality fruit and vegetables canstill sell well in the supermarket.

Improving shelf life through packaging
The shelf life of products has a big influence on food waste. The packagingindustry can definitely play a big part in improving this. One development inresponse to this, is laser micro perforated foil. This system measures theamount of oxygen needed by a product, adjusting the number of holes to beperforated to that. By giving the packaging the optimum amount of oxygen, theproduct’s shelf life is extended. Ultrapak, a packaging specialist that is alsoactively looking for solutions to combat food waste, has entered into a partnershipwith the PerfoTec’s Respiration Control System for fresh fruit. EasyLid isadded to the micro perforated foil, making it possible to reseal the packaging.

Last year, moreover, their TenderPac was a finalist in De Gouden Noot 2014, theworld’s most competitive packaging innovation contest. TenderPac was developedby Ultrapak, in conjunction with Naber Plastics and Sealpac. By including theTenderPac vacuum reservoir in the packaging, liquid and residual gases areconducted away from the product, which significantly extends shelf life. Inbeef, the shelf life increases by at least 30 to 40 days. TenderPac, Peter Roordaof Ultrapak says, can also be applied in fruit and veg, the fishing industry andthe poultry sector. The TenderPac system comes in three varieties: skinpackaging on tray sealing machine, flexible foil vacuum packaging onthermoformer, and the new skin packaging on thermoformer.

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