Tesco has introduced unwashed potatoes to approximately 262 stores across the UK, in a bid to reduce food waste.
Unwashed potatoes have a longer shelf life as soil helps to block out light and slow down the natural decay process.
The retailer added that until the 1970s, most UK supermarkets and greengrocers used to sell unwashed potatoes.
‘Most Wasted Food’
According to waste advisory action group WRAP, potatoes are the single ‘most wasted food’ item among households in the UK.
Will McManus, sector specialist for fresh produce at WRAP, said, “One of the biggest drivers of potato waste in the home is that we don’t use them in time, so anything that we can do to extend shelf life has the potential to be really important in the fight against food waste.
“We are very pleased to see how Tesco are collaborating with their suppliers to tackle food waste and bring change to their shelves.”
McManus also added that household food waste contributes significantly to global emissions, with 70% of food waste originating from homes.
Tesco teamed up with Branston, one of the UK’s leading potato suppliers, for a pilot project involving the rollout of unwashed organic white potatoes in 120 stores in the country.
The companies found that the shelf-life of unwashed potatoes was nearly double that of washed ones, adding up to an extra five days of freshness.
Produce lead technical manager at Tesco, Rob Hooper, said, “Last November we ran an initial trial at stores in Bristol and the surrounding areas to see how shoppers would respond, and it was a success, so now we are widening this trial across the south of England.”
Technical manager at Branston, Dominic Groom, commented, “Working in partnership with Tesco, we identified a potential opportunity to extend the shelf-life of our organic potatoes by leaving them unwashed.
“This trial should provide us with a clearer understanding of how this impact manifests and how customers feel about soil on their potatoes.”
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.