Greenhouse vegetable grower-marketer Houweling’s Group has officially launched its plastic-free California Grown English cucumbers in partnership with shelf-life and food waste specialist Apeel.
While English cucumbers traditionally have required single-use plastic for shelf-life extension and product quality through the supply chain, Apeel said that its cucumbers maintain freshness, firmness, and colour without single-use plastics.
Walmart is among the first to pilot plastic-free cucumbers with Apeel on store shelves, particularly important as consumers and retailers continue to seek out more sustainable packaging formats and brands who are committed to sustainability as a core tenet.
With this demand in the marketplace, Houweling’s said that it was gratified to be the first to market and lead the adoption of a more sustainable cucumber.
For every 500,000 cases shipped, Houweling’s and Apeel will eliminate the equivalent of 820,000 single use plastic water bottles out of the supply chain and ultimately out of landfills.
“From the first time we reviewed the potential of plastic-free cucumbers, we saw the opportunity and the challenge of bringing avante garde technology to market," said Kevin Doran, Houweling’s Group president and chief executive. "From a high-level, the opportunity to lead a disruption in this category and improve our decorated sustainability profile put us on course to where we are today.”
Apeel is on a mission to eliminate food waste with avocados, organic apples and limes at major US retail grocers and avocados and citrus in the European Union.
But for the first time the edible 'peel' technology is being used to replace plastic, and replicate the shelf-life the plastic provides the standard pack at retail.
“When surveying the cucumber consumer, we heard loud and clearthe desire to avoid single-use plastics, with 62 per cent holding the preference," added David Bell, Houweling’s Group CMO. "This echoed the direct requests we hear from consumers and retail partners around removing the plastic. Quite simply, it wasn’t possible until we found Apeel.”