Tesco selling muddy potatoes in bid to cut food waste – and they have a longer shelf life

Tesco outline their latest shopping measures ahead of lockdown

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Tesco shoppers will be able to pick up muddy potatoes for the first time since the 1970s in 262 of the supermarkets 2,650 stores. It comes after foods like potatoes as well as milk, bacon and carrots are more likely to go to waste.

It is thought that selling potatoes with soil helps to block out light and slow down decay.

The muddy potatoes could extend shelf life from five days to 11.

Tesco has also worked out how much soil is on the average spud, and the scales have been adjusted accordingly so that customers do not pay extra for it.

The scheme, which could eventually be rolled out to all of the chain’s shops, is being run alongside Lincolnshire-based potato supplier Brandston.

Rob Hooper, Tesco Produce’s lead technical manager, told The Sunday Times: “Towards the end of the 1970s, supermarkets and greengrocers in general moved towards selling more cosmetically perfect produce and as a result, potatoes were washed before being put on display.

“Last November we ran an initial trial at stores in Bristol and the surrounding areas to see how shoppers would respond and it was a success, so now we are widening this trial across the south of England.”

Potatoes are one of the most commonly wasted food in Britons’ homes, according to an analysis by charity WRAP.

Experts have also said that if they are kept unwashed in a dark and dry place, they will have a longer shelf life. 

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Will McManus, WRAP’s sector specialist for fresh produce, said: “We are very pleased to see how Tesco are collaborating with their suppliers to tackle food waste and bring change to their shelves.”

Wasting food makes a huge contribution to global emissions, with up to 70 percent of food waste, coming from the home.

In other Tesco news, the supermarket is making huge changes to stores to help tackle obesity.

This involves changes to promotions and pricing to remove barriers to buying healthy food.

This is a further expansion of Tesco’s plant-based ranges, which it is also aiming to expand. 

Tesco is firstly planning on increasing the sales of healthy products, as a proportion of total sales to 65 percent by 2025, up from 58 percent today.

As well as this, the supermarket giant is committing to increase sales of plant-based meat alternatives by 300 percent by 2025 in line with its ambition to put adorable and healthy food within reach of all customers. 

Tesco Group CEO Ken Murphy said: “Customers are telling us they want to eat a more healthy, sustainable diet, but without having to stretch the weekly shopping budget.

“By making even very small changes to the items they put in their basket week in week out, we can help them make that change.

“We’ve worked hard to help our customers eat healthily and we’re proud of our track record, and it’s clear we can do more. 

“Today we are sharing our stretching new ambitions on health, and committing to reporting our progress against them.”

Customers hoping to order food in time for Easter are also able to make an order now.

However, this is only available to those who are signed up for the supermarket’s Delivery Saver service.

The service costs £3.49 per month and allows customers to pick from a wide range of slots with no additional delivery fees.

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