Fruit and vegetables: misters instead of plastic

Posted on 07 April 2020.

In New Zealand, zero plastic bears fruit! The New World supermarket in Christchurch has banned it from fruit and vegetable packaging. The result? A spectacular increase in sales.

Misters are more effective than plastic in maintaining the color, texture and nutritional qualities of food.

A 300% increase in onion sales in less than a year. The result is enough to make the world's early vegetables green with envy. It was achieved in Christchurch on South Island by a New Zealand supermarket, part of the New World chain.   How? Its manager, Nigel Bond, launched an operation called "Food in the Nude" in 2018. The idea was to ban all plastic packaging from the fruit and vegetable shelves and so reduce the amount of waste that was generated.   And it has been worth the effort: New Zealand throws away nearly 252,000 metric tons of plastic every year, according to the local organization Recycle, much of which is packaging. Most of this waste then ends up in the ocean with disastrous consequences for the environment.    In an effort to save resources and move towards a true circular economy, Nigel Bond's store decided to replace plastic packaging with... small misters. The icing on the cake is that it is a better way of preserving the produce. It is also used by the American chain Whole Foods Market and in various stores in Europe.


Consumers like it, sales follow

"Fruit and vegetables are 90% water and a number of studies have shown that misters are more effective than plastic in maintaining the color, texture and nutritional qualities of food," said Nigel Bond when interviewed by the NZ Herald.
  Consumers have embraced the concept. "They were pleasantly surprised when we introduced the new shelving. By wrapping fruit in plastic, we deprive consumers of the experience of smelling and touching the produce," he continued.   And sales followed. Some, such as beets and spring onions, have even quadrupled in less than a year. These results are encouraging other stores in the New World chain to copy the Christchurch supermarket.
Now the retailer is tackling packaging on other products by testing a new system: consumers can bring their own cans, bottles and jars when they go shopping. The zero waste battle is in full swing in New Zealand.

CREDIT: Main picture @Noemie Rosset @Veolia