Higher early season temperatures have slowed down the natural process, leaving the satsumas green © Tesco
Higher early season temperatures have slowed down the natural process, leaving the satsumas green © Tesco

Tesco to sell green oranges to cut food waste

19 October 2017

Tesco has announced it will start selling green satsumas and clementines as part of plans to cut food waste.

The UK supermarket chain said the green oranges would be “perfectly ripe” and just as sweet as orange-coloured ones.

Higher early season temperatures in Spain have slowed down the natural process whereby the skin of the fruit turns orange, making this year’s harvest appear greener.

Satusumas and clementines grow as green fruit and turn orange towards the end of the summer, when the weather turns colder in the evenings. 

However, in recent years, warmer Spanish temperatures in the early growing season for satsumas in September and October have remained high into autumn and delayed the natural process, according to the Citrus Growers Association.

Supermarkets have been criticised for contributing to UK’s food waste by sticking to rigidly to quality specifications, which routinely reject misshapen but edible fruit and vegetables grown by suppliers.

Earlier this year, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee chairman Neil Parish said supermarkets should sell “wonky veg” as part of their main fruit and vegetable lines to help cut food waste. 

He said knobbly carrots and parsnips did not taste or cook any differently from other vegetables and should be saved from supermarket reject bins.

In response, Tesco launched their Perfectly Imperfect range in March 2016, which features apples, pears, potatoes, parsnips, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries and frozen mixed berries and introduced "Zilla Eggs", mini egg-sized avocados, to help cut waste.

Morrisons and Asda have also launched misshapen vegetable ranges this year to give customers the option to buy misshapen produce at lower prices.

Tescos said that green oranges however, will not be sold as part of the Perfectly Imperfect range and will be sold at the same prices as regular oranges.

Kiti Soininen, Mintel’s head of UK food and drink research, told the BBC that supermarkets should encourage consumers to be less obsessed with perfection at the point of sale.

“Key to encouraging consumers to buy these is communicating—for example, prominently at the point of sale—that the satsumas are ripe and shoppers can expect the same taste they are use to, perhaps even by offering tasters,” she said. 

“From international examples, the success stories for initiative to cut food waste by embracing ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables have been the ones helping shoppers understand what to expect from the taste and quality of the food and reassuring them that ‘ugly’ doesn’t mean that the fruit and vegetables wouldn’t still taste great.” 

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