The food industry likes to make us believe, that wraping and packaging vegetables and fruits leades to longer shelf life of the goods and therefore decreases waste of the same.
However a recent longterm study over 18 months by the UK based sustainability charity Wrap shows that packaging the food leads to increased waste, as consumer tend to buy more than they need. I.e. instead of buying two unpacked bananas, as that might be what they will eat the next days they are obliged to buy a shrink packaged lot of 5-6 bananas and that then leads to throwing the rest away, as the last bananas have turned brownish.
The research by Wrap showed that if the products (apples, bananas, broccoli, cucumber, potatoes) were sold loose, and the best-before dates were not mentioned, only in UK more than 10,300 tonnes of plastic and about 100,000 tonnes of food could be saved from being wasted each year.
And additinally the consumer would save a lot of money, nowadays with increasing costs of energy and food being more important than ever.
Intertek helps support food and drink client organisations to develop tailored programs to manage their supply chain, disposal of waste, energy and water footprint achieving a greener, more efficient manufacturing and distribution process. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the food industry is the most comprehensive method for assessing the overall environmental impact of food and beverage products from raw ingredients through to processing and production, distribution, use, waste management and final disposal. You may get more information at https://www.intertek.com/assuris/food/sustainability/ .