This Breakthrough ethylene absorbing sheets could double shelf life of fresh fruit at the store or in your refrigerator

Ethylene, a natural gas that’s emitted by fruit and is responsible for hastening the ripening process, may have met its match, thanks to a breakthrough device.

Made by It’s Fresh!, a Food Freshness Technology (FFT) company, the postage stamp-sized device is a filter that absorbs ethylene from fruit. In turn, fruit lasts longer, preserving shelf life and allowing people to enjoy their foods for longer periods of time. You can view the video in this Daily Mail article to view the time lapse which shows for example, how with the filter, strawberries can last up to five days longer than strawberries stored without the technology.

The ethylene filter is an absorbent strip comprised of a clay and mineral blend which company experts maintain is safe and chemical-free. Furthermore, the strip can be thrown in a recyclable bin once it’s used.

Technology focuses more on improving food quality issues

According to Food Freshness Technology’s website, this particular technology is beneficial because it addresses concerns that many have regarding food quality, waste and security.

“FFT has invested in excess of $15m in reaching its aim of bringing to market a range of simple products to reduce waste, protect and increase food quality for the benefit of all,” the site states. “Extending and protecting food quality addresses a number of urgent ethical and financial challenges facing the modern food industry right now. Simple solutions for; [sic] food security in the developing world, driving reductions in supply chain waste and continuously meeting and beating consumer expectations are all paramount for the successful food business of the future. It is our aim to provide these solutions.”

FFT praises It’s Fresh! saying that it “… is a highly specialised technical innovations company focused on delivering comprehensive solutions for food freshness. These unique technologies are delivered via State-of-the-art materials science developed in partnership with world leading research & technology organisations.”

FFT’s site also addresses undernourishment issues, noting that 1 billion people in the world are suffering from the problem while, “lack of effective, safe and ethical technology to help resolve this matter,” persists.

Food waste a growing problem; ethylene-absorbing sheets could help

In fact, it’s noted that about 7 million tons of food get thrown away by households in the UK every year, usually because the food started to rot or because the use-by date passed. But the issue isn’t just limited to the UK; people living elsewhere are also engaged in wasteful food habits.

In the United States, for example, it’s estimated that people are throwing away approximately 40 percent of our food supply annually. It’s also estimated that the average American family of four tosses the equivalent of upwards of $2,275 in food away every year.

It’s FFT’s hope that the It’s Fresh ethylene-absorbing technology will play a role in combating this problem; by making a food last longer, people will no longer be inclined to let it go to waste as soon as they typically do.

FFT chief technology officer, Lawrence Matthews, says, “It slows the development of rot and extends quality, freshness and flavour.”

Currently, the absorbent strip is used prior to the food transportation process; it’s commonly used by supermarkets for strawberries, plums, avocados, cherries, peaches and many other fruits. The thought that it could eventually be used in the home environment is exciting, because it has the potential to preserve food in a safe manner, unlike some of the toxic ingredients and dangerous methods currently used in the food supply, allowing us to enjoy healthy foods, for longer – and fight the problem of food waste at the same time.