According to a new initiative coming out of the UK, the answer is yes. Storing apples in the cool of your refrigerator could help them last up to two weeks longer. An emerging system of labels is here to make sure consumers know—and use—information like this to help reduce food waste.
The UK-based food advisory board, Wrap, is teaming up with the Food Standards Agency to develop a series of simplified grocery labels that do away with all the confusion caused by use by, sell by, best by, and display by designations on food packaging. Though these labels are important for the safety of customers, they often engender unnecessary confusion and see edible foods meeting an untimely end. Wrap's efforts hope to cut 350,000 tons of food waste in the country by 2025. It’s a bold goal, but one that many see as possible with a reformed food labeling system that reduces customer confusion surrounding food’s expiration.
Of particular note in this revised system is the introduction of the little blue fridge icon, an indicator that a product will last longer if placed inside a refrigerator. Apples are only one example of produce that will receive this symbol on its packaging—other fresh produce will benefit from this specification. Wrap will also feature snowflake symbols on certain packaging to designate foods that should be frozen before a stated date.
All these changes come on the heels of a larger global food waste movement that sees consumers—and retailers—paying increased attention to the ways we interact with food, be it expired or not. This example comes from the UK, but there have been other initiatives both in the US, India, and more. It's a big task, one that no country can tackle alone. The best advice we home cooks can take is to start small: perhaps an apple in the fridge is the best place to begin.
How do you combat food waste in your own kitchen? Share your tricks in the comments.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.