Tesco to sell unwashed potatoes to cut down on food waste
Tesco is to sell unwashed potatoes in a bid to cut down on food waste.
The supermarket said the move could also potentially double the products’ shelf-life.
Most UK supermarkets and greengrocers used to sell unwashed potatoes until the 1970s. Now Tesco is looking at a return to selling potatoes in the traditional way after running a trial of selling organic white potatoes across 120 stores with positive results. .
Run in partnership with potato supplier Branston, the trial is now being extended to 262 stores.
Tesco produce lead technical manager Rob Hooper said: “Up until about 50 years ago potatoes would generally be sold unwashed and having a natural film of soil around them would help keep them fresher for longer.
“But towards the end of the 1970s, supermarkets and greengrocers in general moved towards selling more cosmetically perfect produce and as a result, potatoes were washed before being put out on display.
“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.”
In trials so far, Tesco and Branston discovered that shelf-life for the unwashed potatoes nearly doubled and offered up to an extra five days freshness.
Branston technical manager Dominic Groom said: “Working in partnership with Tesco, we identified a potential opportunity to extend the shelf-life of our organic potatoes by leaving them unwashed.
“Soil coverage can offer a layer of protection from the impact light can have on the skin turning green, which is a factor we consider when determining shelf-life.
“This trial should provide us with a clearer understanding of how this impact manifests and how customers feel about soil on their potatoes.”
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