Since we launched our Plastic Unwrapped strategy in February, we’ve been on a journey to remove avoidable plastic across our business.

That journey has now brought us to six million naked swedes! We’re announcing today that we will be removing the plastic wrapping from our British-grown whole swede, saving around six million individual pieces of plastic a year. Extensive shelf life tests have shown that there is minimal difference in the shelf life of a wrapped or unwrapped swede, so the great news is that customers won’t see any difference in the quality of their swede, or the freshness.

We’re currently scrutinising each and every piece of fruit and veg that we sell to see if we can do things differently – and where we can undress our fruit or veg, we’re committed to doing so! It’s a delicate balance, as our tests show that removing the plastic wrapping from some fruit and vegetables can drastically reduce shelf life and actually increase food waste.

Unwrapped cucumbers, for example, lose three times more weight than wrapped due to dehydration, which leads to rubbery, yellowing cucumbers that are more prone to rotting and mould.

Equally, red and white cabbages are prone to moisture loss when the plastic shrink wrap is removed, resulting in a reduced shelf life of around 2-3 days, and ultimately a poorer quality product.

It’s really important to Asda to make sure that we balance plastic reduction with food waste. We’ve made stretching commitments to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste and it’s also a big environmental issue if the energy and resources used to grow food end up being for no benefit.

We’re working with packaging experts at Leeds Beckett University to find viable alternatives to plastic in the long term, but where we can take plastic off now, we will. We will be trialling various changes to our fresh produce packaging, with a view to more joining our naked swedes - so watch this space!