Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Fridge filter helps reduce food waste in the home

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Fridge filter helps reduce food waste in the home
Commercial refrigerator filter technology has been adapted for domestic use to provide a filter which reduces food spoilage in the fridge at home
In Use – The commercial Cooler King® refrigerator filters have been available for many years, but the domestic Polar Fresh® filter is a recent innovation, having been launched to the market during 2011. Polar Fresh® is available in the UK via a number of online suppliers.

Benefits
Product Waste Reduction, Shelf life extension

Product Categories
Drinks, Food

Relevant Materials
Not Applicable

Relevant Packaging Formats
Not Applicable

Supply Chain Phase
Consumer

Details

An air filter, based on technology previously applied to commercial refrigeration, has been developed for domestic refrigerator applications with a view to reducing food waste in the home. The filter uses a unique blend of zeolites and active charcoal to reduce humidity by up to 50% and to absorb ethylene in the refrigerator, thereby reducing the rate of food spoilage.

The unit rapidly reduces heat and water vapour introduced by door opening, preventing water build up in the fridge and ice development on condenser coils. As a consequence, heat exchange takes place more efficiently, requiring less energy. With the reduction of warm, moist food spoiling bacteria develop more slowly, thereby keeping food fresh for longer and reducing the amount of food wasted by the consumer.
Ethylene gas, which ripens fruit, salads and vegetables, is also absorbed. Lower ethylene gas levels result in slower ripening and reduced spoilage of these fresh products.
The product consists of a food contact safe cardboard outer container with a replaceable filter cartridge. The shape maximises air circulation whilst the size, number and placement of the holes in the outer container have been developed to maximise air flow through the filter. The filter has an effective life of three months, depending on the specific refrigerator conditions. 
The filter is branded as Polar Fresh®, and it is an extension of the commercial range of refrigerator filters from Cooler King®.

Potential Benefits

The major environmental benefit of this technology is reducing food waste arising in the household by delaying food spoilage processes, such as bacterial growth and ripening.  The shelf life improvement potential of this technology has been demonstrated through independent tests showing reduced rate of yeast and mould growth on lettuce and strawberries.

Independent tests also demonstrated a 10% reduction in refrigerator energy use as a result of using the Polar Fresh®.
A limited survey involving three households suggested that households using Polar Fresh could save in the region of £4.00 per week due to reduced wastage of food.

Intellectual Property

Polar Fresh® is a registered trademark and a proprietary design of Humidity Control Systems.

Copyright The Ideas House Ltd, a company registered in England. The contents and information in this document are the property of The Ideas House Ltd and may not be disclosed to 3rd parties without written permission of the company. The information is intended for use in evaluation only, and does not form a contract to supply. Details are subject to change.

 

 

Consultant View

This is an innovation which really gets at the heart of the problem of food waste generated in the home. It demonstrates that technology transfer from commercial applications to domestic situations can deliver considerable shelf life extension and food waste reduction.

However, a barrier to uptake will be encouraging consumer to invest in these filters and other innovations such as ethylene absorbing “green bags”. This could present an opportunity for brand owners, who could potentially work with the suppliers to offer discounts or other incentives to loyal consumers.

Contacts and Further Information

Technology contact:
The Ideas House is the exclusive developer & distributor of Polar Fresh for commercial & domestic use for European & other international markets.

Garry Gresham
E-mail ggresham@theideas-house.co.uk
Telephone (Mobile) 07503 152460
 

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