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Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

@mikefruitnet

Wednesday 5th January 2022, 16:13 London

New coating to cut Lidl produce packaging

Retailer works with Swiss researchers to develop edible, protective coating made from crushed fruit and veg peel

New coating to cut Lidl produce packaging

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Lidl Switzerland has worked with the Swiss Federal Laboratories For Materials Science and Technology (Empa) to develop a cellulose protective coating that will make fruit and vegetables stay fresh for longer.

The partners said they hoped the novel coating, which is made from so-called pomace – squeezed fruit and vegetable peels – could reduce packaging and prevent food waste.

At Empa's Cellulose & Wood Materials laboratory, researchers reportedly spent more than a year developing the protective application for fresh produce.

During tests, the shelf-life of bananas was apparently extended by more than a week.

"The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future," commented Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa laboratory.

According to Empa, the idea is to process so-called pomace into fibrillated cellulose.

The coating is then either sprayed on the fruit or applied to the produce as a dip, which is said to be easy to wash off.

“As it is harmless to the consumer, it can also be consumed without harm,” added a spokesperson. “The potential of cellulose coatings is by no means exploited yet; there is the possibility of adding additives such as vitamins or antioxidants.”

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