Everyone knows the battle of buying fresh produce: you hit the store on the weekend and you promise yourself this week you’ll eat everything before it goes soggy in the crisper. But as the days creep by, you find that the lettuce you purchased for all those lunch salads is looking wilted, and the bananas seem to have skipped from green straight to banana bread-ready. You throw it all in the trash. You promise you won't make the mistake of buying more than you can eat next time. And then it all repeats.
Enter UK-based company It’s Fresh!. They’ve developed small sponge-like filter papers that absorb ethylene, the naturally occurring gas that ripens fruit and vegetables. By absorbing ethylene, the maturing process slows, extending shelf life, helping you get through your grocery haul and reducing the amount of food wasted throughout the system.
Companies like Rubbermaid have tried their hand at extending the shelf life of fruits and veggies with climate-controlled containers, but It’s Fresh! filters can be used while food is being transported to stores and on produce displays to slow the process before you even get your groceries home. The sheets are also being used in restaurants, like the London-based mini-chain Canteen. Canteen co-owner Dom Lake told the Evening Standard the sheets helped reduce avoidable food waste when he used them in the restaurant.
The sheets are made from FDA-approved materials for direct food contact. The outside layer is made from medical-grade Tyvek and food-grade BOPP film, and the logo is printed on the outside with food-grade ink. The active absorbing layer inside is a blend of clay and e+ TM, a safe platinum group metal (pgm) powder that works like a sponge and is 100 times more powerful than any other known ethylene absorber. No harmful by-products are created in the process and no harmful chemicals are released, making them safe for you, your food, and your environment.
It’s Fresh! isn’t available for individual purchase at this time, but the company is working with growers, distributors and stores to imbed their technology throughout the supply chain. In the US, they’ve already started working with big-name stores like Walmart and Albertsons, along with well-known growers like Dole. So, keep your eyes out — you might find a green and white “It’s Fresh!” paper in your grocery store produce section soon.