A pilot scheme conducted in the UK by PerfoTec and a leading UK retailer has proven that the shelf-life of raspberries can be increased from five to ten days, and strawberries from four to eight days, using PerfoTec’s Respiration Control System.

The scheme resulted in a 50% reduction of in-store waste and a double-digit sales growth; for one product the in-store waste decreased by 95%.

Fruit and vegetables need oxygen to stay fresh, but the amount of oxygen needed varies by type and changes through the seasons. PerfoTec’s system measures the exact level of oxygen needed and adjusts the packaging accordingly with micro-perforations. These results are not possible with pre-perforated films, but can only be achieved by combining PerfoTec’s online laser perforation system with the Fast Respiration Meter. This instrument was developed in cooperation with TOP in the Netherlands.

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries are delicate products, and doubling the shelf-life is a very attractive benefit for consumers, as the increased sales volume proves. But, there is another important benefit, which may not be directly visible. It makes the distribution and ordering process between suppliers and retailers simpler, more flexible and sustainable.

The problem with complex issues like food waste is that it requires a strong cooperation within the supply chain, between retailers and suppliers, as the party that needs to invest may not be the party that directly benefits from it. This pilot proves that when retailers and suppliers work together, they can reduce food waste in a mutually beneficial way; an important step towards a more sustainable food system.