UK – Tesco Company has introduced the sales of “green” satsumas and clementines in its latest attempt to reduce food waste by giving them up to two days’ extra shelf life.
Last month, Tesco had announced plans to join forces with suppliers to tackle global food waste.
It had widened other quality specifications to take more of farmers’ crops, most recently with British-grown apples.
The changeable weather in Spain has been a challenge for supermarkets stocking salads and vegetables out of season in the UK, as earlier this year they had been forced to ration lettuce and courgettes after snowstorms in Spain ravaged crops.
“At the moment green easy-peelers fall outside of the general quality specifications set by UK supermarkets but Tesco has made the leading move in order to cut down on food waste,” said Tesco’s citrus buyer, Debbie Lombaard.
“As a result of this move to take out a handling stage in the journey from farm to fork shoppers will gain extra freshness for their satsumas and clementines.”
To accelerate the colouring process, Spanish growers in the Valencia region have been putting the easy-peelers into a ripening room, but the extra handling had led to a small amount of fruit being damaged and going to waste.
Satsumas and other easy-peelers, as well as oranges, initially grow as a green fruit but turn orange as nights cool.
However, over the past few years warmer Spanish temperatures in the early growing season for satsumas in September and October have remained higher into the autumn, delaying the natural process by which the fruit turns orange.
Tesco’s “perfectly ripe early season satsumas” come in a 600g net bag and cost the same as conventional orange-coloured ones.
Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, sells nearly 15m 600g bags of satsumas and 75m bags of clementines each year.
Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have helped drive a campaign to encourage consumers to be less obsessed with perfection, and for supermarkets to relax their rules to sell more “wonky” carrots and other odd-looking vegetables and fruits.