Want to Extend the Shelf Life of Fruits and Vegetables? This New Product Can Help.

(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

How many times have you purchased produce from the grocery store or farmers market, only to have it go bad a couple days later? It’s a huge waste of money and time, not to mention the environmental impact. It’s no wonder our readers love tricks and tips for extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables! We’ve shared our advice in the past, but a new product wants to make it even easier for you.

It’s Fresh!, a food tech company, is working on preserving produce with the help of filter papers. These special papers hit the pause button on the ripening process of fruits and veggies and, in turn, extend their shelf life.

How Do the Filter Papers Work?

It’s Fresh! co-founder Simon Lee told Munchies the papers absorb ethylene — the hormone that ripens fruits and vegetables — to slow how quickly produce matures. They can be used as early as the harvest, while the foods are being transported, and later when they are repackaged. The entire process extends the lifespan of a fruit or vegetable by two to four days.

(Image credit: It’s Fresh!)

Thus far, refrigeration has been the method of choice to slow the maturation process, but that has limitations. “Even with refrigeration, there’s still a difficulty of getting produce from A to B and maintaining its quality,” Lee tells Munchies. “You need something that farmers and growers can use the minute fruit is harvested and could stay with the produce all the way through the supply chain to when it’s taken home by a customer.”

Where Are the Filter Papers Being Used Right Now?

Right now the filter papers are being used in supermarkets and during transport, but they’re also being tested at a London restaurant as of last month. Chefs at U.K. eatery Canteen have already reported less food waste courtesy of the papers.

What’s next? Hopefully at-home filters that can help consumers curb waste and save resources. According to Lee, filters for homes would require some reformatting since the current ones are for one-time use only and consumers would want something more user-friendly.