It was officially announced on Thursday 4th April that Waitrose & Partners has joined forces with Scottish biotec company CuanTec to work on a new film for food packaging made out of waste langoustine shells.


Official Press Announcement:




4th April 2019


Waitrose & Partners has joined forces with Scottish biotec company CuanTec to work on a new film for food packaging made out of waste langoustine shells.


CuanTec - based in Motherwell and Oban -  takes waste langoustine shells created from seafood processing to make a natural polymer - which can then be turned into a flexible film. The material also has the potential to be both industrially and home compostable.


The new packaging, which is at an experimental stage, was shown to HRH The Prince of Wales during a visit to Waitrose & Partners Food Innovation Studio today.


Waitrose hopes the new packaging could be used as an alternative to conventional plastic film on some of its fish products in 12-18 months time, including Waitrose Duchy smoked salmon.


Dr Cait Murray-Green, CEO of CuanTec, said; “For us this technology represents the perfect virtuous circle. As well as protecting food on sale to consumers, it gives value to what would have been a waste product and takes single use plastic out of the food system, meaning that less waste goes to landfill.”

Karen, Graley, Waitrose & Partners packaging manager said; “While we are still at an experimental stage, the potential for this new packaging material is incredibly exciting. Conventional plastic films can’t currently be recycled, reused or composted - so finding an alternative which doesn’t go into landfill would be very significant in helping us reach our target of ensuring that all own label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.”


Waitrose & Partners was introduced to CuanTec during a pitch day to reduce plastic waste for its JLAB retail innovation programme. JLAB allows the John Lewis Partnership to work with start-ups and more established businesses on exciting new technologies and ideas.


Waitrose & Partners was impressed with the potential of the ‘langoustine shell film’ and is now actively working with the company to test the packaging on some of its food in the hope of bringing it to market soon.


This wouldn’t be the first time that a bi-product of the food industry has been used for food packaging at Waitrose. The retailer is already using vine leaves produced as a by-product of tomato growing to make punnets for its Waitrose Duchy tomatoes.

CuanTec had the honour to be included at the launch of the Waitrose Food Innovation Centre on Thursday 4th April, where we had the opportunity to show HRH Prince of Wales our prototype world first home compostable packaging for salmon.


Official Press Announcement:

HRH The Prince of Wales visits Waitrose & Partners’ Headquarters


  • HRH The Prince of Wales officially opened the new Waitrose & Partners Food Innovation Studio today
  • Waitrose & Partners announces £1 billion sales milestone for Waitrose Duchy Organic brand with £23.5 million contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causes


HRH The Prince of Wales visited the Waitrose & Partners headquarters in Berkshire today to carry out the official opening of the Royal Warrant Holder’s new Food Innovation Studio. The cutting edge product development facility is part of Waitrose & Partners’ commitment to being the most innovative, high quality food retailer in the supermarket sector.


The Prince of Wales was given a guided tour of the new studio, which includes an innovation kitchen, a cookery theatre for training courses, a dedicated ideas room and five tasting rooms where Waitrose & Partners’ food team work together with producers on product development.


During the visit, His Royal Highness also met with Waitrose Partners who create and develop products for the Waitrose Duchy Organic range, the food brand originally founded by The Prince of Wales in 1990 to champion organic farming. Waitrose & Partners acquired the exclusive licence to develop and distribute Waitrose Duchy Organic ten years ago.


It was announced during the visit that total sales of the Waitrose Duchy Organic brand since the brand came to Waitrose & Partners have now surpassed £1 billion and that these sales have generated a contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causesof over £23.5 million.


Rob Collins, Managing Director, Waitrose & Partners said: ‘It was a great honour to welcome The Prince of Wales to our new Food Innovation Studio and show him the work we do here.”


He added  ‘As pioneers of  organic food in supermarkets we were proud to be entrusted with the Duchy Originals brand in 2009, and delighted to announce today that sales over the last 10 years of Waitrose Duchy Organic products have now exceeded £1billion, generating a contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causesof over £23.5 million.’


During the visit, The Prince of Wales met the Waitrose & Partners packaging team who showed some exciting new experimental packaging made out of langoustine shells. The shells, which would otherwise go to waste, are made into a cling film-like material which is currently being considered as a new type of packaging for Waitrose Duchy Organic Salmon in place of plastic.*


The Prince of Wales also followed the development journey of two new Waitrose Duchy Organic products: a delicious mincemeat for this year’s Duchy Organic Christmas range and a recipe for a roasted vegetable gratin which will be launched during Organic September.


The Prince of Wales met two producers, who make cider and grow apples for the Duchy Organic brand, and then observed the prospective Waitrose Duchy Organic mincemeat being put through its paces during a Waitrose & Partners ‘Product Panel’ session. This is a tasting and approval process which all new products go through, and must pass, if they are to make the shelves of Waitrose & Partners.