Not berry good: Consumers resigned to food waste

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Half of consumers unsurprised by how much food they waste
Half of consumers unsurprised by how much food they waste

Related tags: Tomato, Berry, Recycling

Only 1% of people don’t throw berries away according to a UK poll which found more than 50% of consumers are resigned to high levels of food waste.

Half of those questioned said they are prepared to pay more for longer lasting berries, 53% up to 5p more, and 29% up to 10p more.

Of 2002 consumers surveyed, 50% admitted to discarding up to a quarter of the berries they purchase, and 51% were not surprised by these high levels of waste.

This led to 76% of people being interested in a way of keeping berries fresher for longer, according to ItsFresh!, which develops solutions for food freshness.

32% stated some of their berries go to waste after purchase, with 93% claiming this was because the berries ‘went off’ before they had a chance to eat them.

ItsFresh tech

ItsFresh! said its technology uses ethylene adsorption technology​ with a blend of minerals and clay, sealed into a food-grade sheet, which can be inserted into bulk and retail fresh produce packaging at the pack-house.

Its Fresh!

Simon Lee, director of It’sFresh! said industry can’t afford to lose focus on the problem of food waste.

Fresh produce represents 29% of avoidable food waste, and the International Development Committee has recently called for sanction-backed food waste reduction targets​.

“Will the prospect of potential regulatory pressure force growers and retailers to step up their waste-reduction efforts, for example by hastening their adoption of technologies such as It’sFresh! that can keep berries fresher for longer in the home​?”

Reduced sales caused by spoilage are a clear and present problem for berry growers, said the firm.

Consumer decisions

Evidence from the survey indicates high spoilage levels have already deterred some shoppers from buying berries: 5% of the sample claiming they don’t buy berries anymore due to concerns over perishability.

Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers surveyed admitted that deterioration makes them less likely to buy berries from the same place again.

However, 74% of consumers said that if their berries could be kept fresher for longer, it would encourage them to buy more packs, more often.

Dr Chris Bishop, a postharvest scientist from Writtle College, said: “Consumers have become desensitised to berry waste in the home: 30% of those who were surveyed, and half of those who threw away some berries every month, accept that their berries go off—it should be 0%.

“With technologies now available to take greater care of berries along the supply chain and thus provide greater freshness and longevity, there’s a golden opportunity for industry companies to be good corporate citizens while also helping consumers reduce what they discard.”

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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