We must be able to extend chicory's shelf life in the supermarket, thought a group of Dutch students. So, their start-up, With Lof, invented a chicory flap. This lid protects the chicory from stores' bright lights. This product, therefore, discolors less quickly and retains its quality for longer.
When the purple film is removed from the chicory, it quickly discolors. That happens when it's on greengrocer or supermarket shelves. This discoloration also makes the chicory turn bitter. That's why, every year, Dutch supermarkets throw about 5,2 million kgs of chicory.
40% less wastage
That's not on, thought Daniël, Martijn, Julia, and Lisanne. So, these four Amsterdam University students founded With Lof. They came up with the chicory flap. It protects the product against stores' harsh lights. The store owner, however, doesn't have to compromise on the chicory's display.
"We delivered the first flaps in week 46. These went to several Albert Heijn franchises," says Martijn Kuiper, one of the startup's founders. "We're now receiving orders from other supermarket chains too. Initial results show that supermarkets are now discarding over 40% less chicory. That's while sales remain the same."
The concept seems simple and effective. But Martijn says there's more to producing these flaps. "The fruit and vegetable sector has strict hygiene and food safety rules. Our chicory flap meets those requirements. We've also applied for a design patent. It fits perfectly on standard vegetable crates. You can click the With Lof flap onto the existing crate in which your chicory is delivered."
Other fruits and vegetables
If it were up to With Lof, this solution to extending fruit and vegetable shelf life wouldn't stop with chicory. "Store conditions aren't always ideal for maintaining other types of fruit and vegetables' quality either," Martijn concludes.
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