Sainsbury's switches potato packaging in bid to reduce waste

Sainsbury's has launched new opaque, breathable potato packaging intended to prevent the contents from going green and developing a bitter taste.

A still from Sainsbury's online video on potato storage
A still from Sainsbury's online video on potato storage

It says potatoes are the UK’s most wasted vegetable, with 730,000 tonnes binned by British households each year, costing them £230m.

One cause of this is the green discolouration and consequent bitter flavour in potatoes from a build-up of the compound solanine, which is triggered by exposure to light.

Sainsbury’s head of packaging Jane Skelton said: "We’re confident that this will improve the shelf-life of our potatoes and, while the packaging might be opaque, we’re hoping the results will be clear to see."

The new packaging, being rolled out across Sainsbury’s stores, will be used for King Edwards and Lady Balfour potatoes, two varieties which are most susceptible to greening.

In other waste reduction moves, the retailer has switched to selling salads in two separate pre-packed portions intended to suit single dinners and smaller households, and has changed its on-pack freezing instructions from "freeze on day of purchase" to "freeze as soon as possible after purchase and always within the use-by date".

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