See how one company is combating the gas which causes your fruit and veg to rot
Published: 15 May 2017
Food gets wasted every day as it usually has a limited shelf life - but Sheena Grant takes a look at one way of prolonging the life of your fruit and veg.
I'd be prepared to hazard a guess that most people have never heard of ethylene.
I hadn't either, until a few weeks ago when I was contacted by an East Anglian company called Fresh Pod.
Their business is all about ethylene and they're on a mission to try and ensure more of us make it our business too.
That's because ethylene costs us money and is partly responsible for the huge amount of fruit and vegetables wasted every day of the year in the UK (and further afield).
That's not to say it's necessarily a bad thing, just something we need to know about.
Ethylene is a gas produced by fruit and vegetables to bring about ripening - and rotting. You see where I'm going now?
And that's where Fresh Pod comes in.
Regular readers may recall I mentioned the Norwich-based company in a column around a month ago after they sent me a sample of their products, which are aimed at extending the storage life of fruit and veg by up to four times. Each environmentally-friendly 'Fresh Pod' sachet - which contains zeolite and potassium permanganate that can be recycled as a plant fertiliser after six months' use - removes ethylene when placed in the fridge alongside unwrapped fruit and veg.
I've been using two small, discreet Fresh Pods - comprising a sachet contained in a green plastic case - in my fridge for around four weeks now and am happy to report that the product really does work. In my very unscientific trial my carrots, broccoli and cabbage have definitely stayed fresher for longer. The broccoli, for instance, had a 'best before' date of April 21 on it and almost three weeks on the last spears that remain uneaten are still beautifully green and fresh.
The company's Alexandra Long says Fresh Pod has been challenging supermarket 'sell by' dates for many years with its products, which extend shelf life in both commercial and domestic settings and protect the environment.
"Not only do we save businesses thousands of tonnes in fresh produce waste every year we can also reduce food waste in the home," she says. "The environment benefits from our actions and so do the budgets of many households and corporates. You may be surprised to learn much of the fresh produce we consume has been picked and stored for a considerable time before it gets to the supermarket. No best before dates during that process, yet still incredibly fresh."
Alexandra says Fresh Pod is "100% safe and natural" and also removes airborne spores, rots and moulds that can lurk in fridges.
"We are environmentalists first and a commercial business second, on a mission to reduce the amount of fresh produce that goes into landfill every year. Ethylene is the harmful ripening gas everyone needs to focus on. Removing it from storage areas will go a long way to solving this waste problem and could, should supermarkets be serious about the subject, remove sell by and best before dates from much fresh produce."
For further information, please visit http://www.eadt.co.uk/ea-life/see-how-one-company-is-combating-the-gas-which-causes-your-fruit-and-veg-to-rot-1-5009926