Though celebrated mainly in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada also observe Apple Day in October.
Apple Day was initiated by a UK charity group called, Common Ground, as a way of celebrating and demonstrating that variety and richness matter to a locality. Common Ground uses the apple to symbolize the celebration of the physical, cultural and genetic diversity of each locality. In linking particular apples with their place of origin, they hope that orchards will be recognized and conserved for their contribution to local distinctiveness, including the rich diversity of wild life they support.
To celebration of the themes behind Apple Day, BIO wanted to highlight Okanagan Specialty Fruit (OSF)’s Arctic® Apple. The Arctic® Apple is very unique in that it is the non-browning apple. Enzymatic browning is the primary type of apple browning and is caused by the apple’s chemical reaction after cell injury, such as by bruising, biting or cutting the apple. Arctic apples don’t undergo enzymatic browning. (Note that let any food get old enough, such as leaving it in the fridge too long, and any apple – including Arctic apples – will eventually suffer other types of browning.)
One of the ideas that prompted the Okanagan Specialty Fruits to create a better apple was to help reduce food waste. In their blog, Slicing into Food Waste with Arctic® Apples, OSF explains how the company’s apple can mean less food in the trash:
Reducing food waste has been a major topic of discussion for years, and unfortunately, apples are among the most wasted foods of all. Last year, UK supermarket giant Tesco revealed that apples are among the most wasted foods throughout the supply chain – around 40% total of what’s produced (and even this seems conservative based on other food waste estimates).
“One of the most interesting things about Tesco’s report, though, is that they estimate that over two-thirds of apple waste is at the consumer level…Considering consumers in countries like the UK and U.S. generally eat around 16-20 pounds of fresh apples a year, the amount of waste per person is quite shocking indeed.
“…We can picture a few scenarios that can lead to this type of waste though. One would simply be superficial bruising occurring in shopping bags, lunchboxes, etc. that led to a less enticing visual appearance and thus a higher chance of fruit being tossed. Another big one is consumers cutting up apples or taking a bite or two, and then that dreaded browning sets in. You know what happens then – the apples hit the waste bin. And, that’s true whether at home, the office or in school.
“Speaking of waste at schools, a study published a few weeks ago found that an unfortunate side-effect of a mandate for U.S. schools requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable has led to a 56% increase in food waste. Even so, some have suggested that these school nutrition standards have also resulted in positive shifts in student preferences for fruits and veggies.
“Whether mandates are the best approach or not, it’s clear that fruit should be available to students who want them, but ways to minimize waste should be also be sought. One simple solution for apples, one of the most popular, and most wasted fruits in schools – serve them sliced!
“Cornell researchers found that when apples were served pre-sliced, ‘the percentage of students who ate more than half of their apple increased by 73%, an effect that lasted long after the study was over.’
“Not only that, there was also a significant boost in those selecting apples in the first place at these schools, giving the ideal two-birds-with-one-stone result of boosted apple consumption and reduced waste!
“Arctic® apples are, of course, are the perfect solution!”