One of our main goals with nonbrowning Arctic® apples is to reduce food waste, but with our first product being fresh slices of Arctic® Goldens in 10oz bags, we’ve heard some consumers wonder what that means for plastic waste.
There is certainly a lot of interest from both the public and the food industry in not just growing food sustainably, but maximizing sustainability throughout the supply chain. And, while we’ve focused most of our communication efforts on how Arctic® apples can help reduce apple wastage, especially considering they are among the most wasted foods on the planet, we are committed to sustainability throughout our operations.
One of the main reasons we chose to start with pre-sliced apples is that consumers are increasingly looking for healthy, ready to eat snacks as potential alternatives to less healthy convenience options like chips or cookies. We know that consumers, especially kids, will eat more apples and waste less if they’re served pre-sliced so serving them this way can help both environmental and health sustainability.
The trade-off that results from needing packaged materials is one that the whole produce industry is concerned with, however. As the Produce Marketing Association explains, “there is a role for packaging to play in delivering usable and convenient fresh produce to consumers, with improved quality, freshness and longer shelf-life while reducing waste and increasing consumption.” They also acknowledge, though, that consumer demand for sustainable packaging doesn’t mean that there needs “to be a tug-of-war between sustainability and business bottom line…it can be a catalyst for innovation.”
We at OSF certainly agree with this sentiment, and our commitment to sustainability extends far beyond our packaging, with the below practices just a few areas we’re working hard to ensure environmentally-friendly processes support our production of healthy, high-quality fruit:
- Sourcing recyclable packaging (like the Arctic® Goldens 10oz bag – pictured), in addition to using soy-based ink on our bags and relying on recyclable cartons and trays when shipping our products
- Utilizing moisture sensors to automate and optimize watering, resulting in reduced water use
- Reducing crop damage due to hail and sunburn with a state-of-the-art cover above our orchard, allowing for more commercial-quality fruit to reach consumers using the same or fewer inputs
- Relying on pheromone dispensers, which reduce the need for insecticidal sprays
- Utilizing high-efficiency cooling systems throughout our operations