Marks & Spencer is a high-end British retailer known for the quality of its fresh produce. It recently carried out several commercial-scale studies using fresh grapes, raspberries and strawberries. Traditionally, all three of these fruits have short shelf lives. Using modified atmosphere packaging from PerfoTec, however, Marks & Spencer was able to extend the shelf life of grapes from five to seven days, raspberries from five to 10 days, and strawberries from four to eight days. This longer shelf life represented a huge financial saving. By reducing in-store waste by 50 percent (in one store it was actually 95 percent!) the stores achieved double-digit retail sales growth.


And it’s not only in the UK that fresh produce is big business. In South Africa too, retailers are responding to growing consumer demand for a wider variety of better quality produce. Even those stores that have never before sold fresh produce – such as Game and Makro, for example – now have large fresh produce sections.


But with so many people now competing in this market, what’s the big differentiator? Why do some stores enjoy significant retail sales growth as a result of their fresh produce offerings, while others don’t?


Trade Intelligence managing director Maryla Masojada believes it all boils down to execution. Stores have to look at their supply chains – how does their stock get there and, most critically, how is it maintained and presented in store? Those stores that ensure their products are packaged so that they enjoy a longer shelf life will reap the benefits at the tills.


“Supply chain is the next frontier,” says Masojada. “If you can crack the supply chain you will be the winner of the future, certainly in the South African context. When you attain an efficient supply chain, the margins start to come.”

Improve Shelf Life, See Retail Sales Growth

A saved product is a sellable product, and the benefits of increased shelf life for manufacturers are wide-ranging. Because fresh produce (which includes meat and bakery items) can remain on sale for longer, wastage and product returns are reduced. Consumers value fresh food, but they don’t want the addition of additives or preservatives to make it longer lasting. This is why modified atmosphere packaging, which uses only natural gases, is such a game-changing proposition.


Mapflex’s packaging partner Perfotec reduces waste by an average of 50 percent. By doubling the shelf life of fresh produce, and simplifying the distribution and ordering process, it will help you achieve significant retails sales growth. Don’t waste another day – or another load of fresh produce. Chat with us today.