Tesco Trials Innovative Mushroom Packaging

Published on: 17 May 2017

Tesco has launched a trial of a new and innovative packaging for mushrooms, which could see the produce lasting longer.

The fresher mushrooms will stay good in the fridge for a longer period of time, helping to fight food waste for customers.

Mushroom Packaging Problems, 

MushroomsWith the current plastic packaging often used for mushrooms, there is a problem that you might not even have thought about. You may well have seen condensation building up inside the packaging, allowing the mushrooms to get damp over time and grow mould more quickly.

This condensation is a real issue, and forces the mushrooms to go bad faster than they should. The solution is to replace the plastic with another material, an idea which Tesco is currently trying.

Buying manager James Cantoni wrote a blog post on the Tesco website explaining the move, and how it fits in to Tesco’s overall aim to cut food waste by the end of the year.

“We are always looking for new ways to reduce food waste and bring fresh British produce to our customers. So, this week we’re launching a trial of our new fully recyclable pulp punnet,” says Cantoni. “Our customers were influential in helping us make this change. They told us that our current plastic punnets sometimes put them off buying mushrooms. Customers said that condensation sometimes forms in the plastic punnets which in turn can lead to the mushroom quality deteriorating more quickly. So, we’ve been looking at ways to improve quality and keep our produce fresher for longer. The new pulp punnet will hopefully extend the shelf life. This will help stores reduce waste and ultimately means that customers will be able to keep their mushrooms for longer helping to reduce food waste in the home.”

Pulp Based Punnets

The new punnets are something of a revolution, even if in hindsight they may seem like an obvious one. The fully recyclable packaging is good not just for the mushrooms, but also for the environment.

Tesco stores around the UK have all launched the use of the packaging, which allows moisture to be absorbed into the pulp itself. This means that the condensation won’t be allowed to linger and rot the mushrooms. At the same time, it retains enough of a structure that the integrity of the mushrooms won’t be compromised via exposure.

You won’t be seeing moisture sitting at the bottom of your punnet with this new design. The only question now is whether shoppers will be receptive to the change. If the design damages sales – perhaps from a mistaken impression that the pulp is less hygienic or less sturdy – then Tesco may need to switch back to the old plastic version.

Mushroom Packaging [square]More and more often, new product development is about refining existing ideas as supermarkets and retailers look to tackle food waste. The longer an item can last without going off, the easier it is for customers to use it up instead of needing to throw it away. This is a big concern in the UK market, and it looks set to linger for a long time as large retailers commit to cutting food waste over time.

It could mean a big source of food recruitment in the UK, as more resources are put into solving this difficult problem. The aim is to cut food waste during the production and supply of food, while it sits on the shelves in supermarkets, and when it arrives at the customer’s home. There is a lot of work to be done, with several supermarkets already raising concerns about meeting their ambitious targets in time.