Keeping fresh fruits and vegetables fresher and longer lasting is a goal of all produce departments. Rick Hassler and his son, RJ Hassler, are owners of the Brockton, MA, Food Freshness Card.
The Food Freshness Card, said Hassler, is new technology that extends shelf life up to 50 percent, and reduces shrink from 15 to 50 percent in supermarkets and restaurants.
“Installation in supermarkets with the new peal and stick version of the Food Freshness Card takes only three hours and it lasts for years,” said Hassler. “It has prevented over 100,000 tons of food from going to landfills.
“Supermarkets using the Food Freshness Card report instant shrink reductions from 10- to 50-percent in produce departments,” he continued. “Monthly savings range from $1,000 to $10,000 per month per store, not taking into account does additional savings incurred in removing, repurposing and disposing of wasted produce.”
Hassler added that the company’s goal is to save more than 1,000,000 tons of waste. Throughout the food chain waste is a global problem resulting in trillions of dollars in waste. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that supermarkets throw away 43 billion pounds of food. This massive problem results in not only store losses, but also environmental effects. Supermarkets worldwide experience waste and shelf life issues, but have limited products and resources for prevention.
“Food waste ranks third in greenhouse gas emissions,” noted Hassler. “Every 100 pounds of food waste in our landfills sends 8.3 pounds of methane into the atmosphere. Over 20 years, methane has 86 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide. The Food Freshness Card’s team is committed to reducing waste from farm to fork, and we’ve succeeded in naturally extending the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and even breads by up to 50 percent.”
He also said that all stores where Food Freshness Cards are installed have shown a minimum of three-percent increase in sales because produce looks fresher and is more appealing.
“Our results are instant and quantifiable,” said Hassler. “There are increases in sales and earnings, decreases in shrink, hence dollars, and a reduction in returned goods due to items spoiling too fast.”
Food Freshness Card technology comes from the medical field. It holds five U.S. patents and is the winner of more than 12 awards including the 2019 Gold Edison Award for Food Tech Solutions and the United Fresh Innovation Award winner for Best Food Safety Solution in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“We also have had great results in a Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain with reduced shrink as well as reduced fruit flies,” said Hassler. “That perishable’s manager reported that shrink reduction was outstanding, with a 0.26 percent shrink compared to the prior year of 1.88 percent — a difference of $43,109. It also reports that fruit flies have been a non-issue since implementing Food Freshness Cards.”
Food Freshness Cards are also being heavily used in Mexico, where fruit flies are a constant problem because mold and bacteria — the insects’ food source — are present.
“Reducing fruit flies is a great side effect,” said Hassler.
The Food Freshness Card is now ships to 33 countries from its four warehouses worldwide.
(Photo: Rick Hassler and RJ Hassler, owners of Food Freshness Card, receiving the 2019 Gold Edison Award for Food Tech Solutions.)