Like to feel the cukes and tomatoes? It’s soon to be a thing of the past. The ministry is offering financial aid to the chain that will sell vegetables and fruits in plastic packaging. The goal: to prevent waste in stores and at home. The food chains: “The price will rise – packing labor costs”. And what do they say at the Ministry about environmental pollution? “Recycle!”
Plastic bags out – plastic packing is in: The Agriculture Ministry is offering financial aid to the food chain that will sell at least six types of vegetables and fruits – in plastic packaging. This is at the same time that Israelis have managed to reduce use of plastic bags in the supermarket as a result of the Single Use Plastic Bags Act, except for the produce department.
This is about a move against the trend to save packaging as promoted for example by the Single Use Plastic Bags Act, but the Ministry of Agriculture claims that by reducing bulk sales of vegetables and fruits and transitioning to plastic packaging, it’s possible to reduce by 15% -17% the loss of fruits and vegetables in food chains, which could reach between 20% – 50% in the supply chain. The most sensitive products in the supermarkets are bananas (17% waste), tomatoes (16% waste) and cucumbers (15% waste). A further goal is reduction of wasted food by consumers.
The ministry of agriculture wants food chains to sell us fruits and vegetables packaged in plastic
Development in more than 20 branches
According to a public announcement by the Ministry, the monetary aid (estimated at several million shekels) will be granted to the food chain that offers by April 1st “a transition to marketing fresh, packaged, agricultural produce” in at least 20 branches (with preference for food chains that offer more than 39 branches). The aid will be given over three years (until 2021). The chain must maintain a separate produce department, where electronic sales in the branches have to be less than 50% of the branch’s overall sales.
The offer must include cluster tomatoes, cucumbers (not baby) and peppers (except for the Tinkerbell, Sweetbite, Shushka and Romero varieties). In addition, it must include three of the following types: eggplant, cabbage, squash, pears, nectarines, peaches, avocado, all apples and mandarin oranges. In other words, six types in all, whereby a chain offering more than 10 types will receive preference.
The packaging will include undamaged produce, from one or more producers. In each package uniform produce in color and size will be sold, and producer’s details and land of production will be imprinted. There will be a barcode on the packages, to enable collection of their sales data.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, it is possible to pack vegetables and fruits in a variety of ways, according to the type of item. Among other things, a plastic bag (as consumers themselves currently pack produce), a plastic box individually sealed for each item (a “shrink” package that wraps the fruit or vegetable),”flowpack” wrapping (cellophane) and vegetables in Styrofoam trays: a welded tray, a tray wrapped in stretch PVC or a tray wrapped in flowpack.
The Ministry is aware that “this process increases the amount of plastic waste, and is liable to burden the handling of refuse in the urban sector,” and therefore the chains will provide the Ministry with data on sales and waste during the course of the trial, for measurement and estimation.
Meirav Crystal – For the original Article ( Hebrew)