Reducing food waste has been a major topic of discussion for years, and unfortunately, apples are among the most wasted foods of all. Last year, UK supermarket giant Tesco revealed that apples are among the most wasted foods throughout the supply chain – around 40% total of what’s produced (and even this seems conservative based on other food waste estimates).
One of the most interesting things about Tesco’s report, though, is that they estimate thatover two-thirds of apple waste is at the consumer level. The ratio of apples wasted is also much higher than other fruits identified as “food waste hotspots” such as bananas and grapes. Considering consumers in countries like the UK and U.S. generally eat around 16-20 pounds of fresh apples a year, the amount of waste per person is quite shocking indeed.
This alarming rate of waste makes us wonder, why are so many apples being lost at the consumer level? Could it be that this many bad apples make it into the supply chain? Well, we doubt it because if that was the situation, we know retailers wouldn’t stand for it! Beyond that, consumers would never choose and pay for that many low-quality apples in the first place.
We can picture a few scenarios that can lead to this type of waste though. One would simply be superficial bruising occurring in shopping bags, lunchboxes, etc. that led to a less enticing visual appearance and thus a higher chance of fruit being tossed. Another big one is consumers cutting up apples or taking a bite or two, and then that dreaded browning sets in. You know what happens then – the apples hit the waste bin. And, that’s true whether at home, the office or in school.
Speaking of waste at schools, a study published a few weeks ago found that an unfortunate side-effect of a mandate for U.S. schools requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable has led to a 56% increase in food waste. Even so, some have suggested that these school nutrition standards have also resulted in positive shifts in student preferences for fruits and veggies.
Whether mandates are the best approach or not, it’s clear that fruit should be available to students who want them, but ways to minimize waste should be also be sought. One simple solution for apples, one of the most popular, and most wasted fruits in schools – serve them sliced!
Cornell researchers found that when apples were served pre-sliced, “the percentage of students who ate more than half of their apple increased by 73%, an effect that lasted long after the study was over.” Not only that, there was also a significant boost in those selecting apples in the first place at these schools, giving the ideal two-birds-with-one-stone result of boosted apple consumption and reduced waste!
Arctic® apples are, of course, are the perfect solution!