British scientists have developed a new product that could extend the shelf-life of strawberries. More than 38,000 tons of soft fruit, worth around £180 mln (€197 mln), are thrown away by British consumers each year after turning bad. Strawberries are among the biggest culprits.
The scientists believe they have found a solution to strawberries’ short shelf-life and tendency to mould, after studying and analysing the ripening process and its effect on the fruit. The new product – a stimulant which can be mixed with standard fertilisers – has been put through its paces in a series of trials, to prove its effectiveness.
Dr David Marks, managing director of ‘agritech’ company Levity Crop Science, said: “We now need further research to establish beyond doubt how much extra shelf life this can deliver for the consumer. But it’s definitely good news for strawberry growers: not only will they be able to sell a greater proportion of their crop after treatment with this product, they will also be able to reduce the amount of calcium they apply. It’s why we’ve called the technology LoCal – growers can reduce the average amount of calcium needed by two-thirds. Improved shelf-life after picking will benefit other partners in the supply chain too.”