Beko claims its new tech will keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer, as well as preserving their vitamin A and C content.
The technology, which Beko is calling HarvestFresh, works by mimicking the natural cycle of daylight. The crisper drawer is bathed in light, the colour of which changes throughout the day. In the morning, there are four hours of blue light, to replicate dawn. This is followed by two hours of green light to recreate midday and then six hours of red light for dusk. The lights then shut off for 12 hours overnight.
Beko says that the technology was independently verified by quality assurance organisation Intertek. The company tested fruit and vegetables stored for a five-day period using the light tech against a control group kept in the dark. The produce tested included tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, spinach and celery.
If all this sounds like crazy talk – because after all, veg is veg and once picked, its lifecycle is over, right? – prepare to be surprised. This is much more plausible than it initially sounds.
In 2013, the publication Current Biology published an incredible study showing that even after being picked, the phytochemical composition of fruit and vegetables continued to alter in response to light. The team behind the study worked initially with harvested cabbages, before testing other produce, including sweet potatoes, blueberries, spinach and courgettes.
In the early mornings, before sunrise, plants ramp up the production of chemicals used to deter insects. And this circadian rhythm continues on in their fruit after harvest. Some of these chemicals have a nutritional value to humans, and we can stimulate their production by recreating the natural light cycle.
Broadly speaking, that means that the right light at the right time can be used to make fruit and veg more nutritious.
However, what we don’t know is whether this process is only disrupted or entirely ended during periods of transport (where the produce will be in total darkness) or storage (where it may be on display in a supermarket that’s lit for 24 hours a day). That means that the effectiveness of the fridge’s tech may be predicated on how long it takes for the produce to reach your home.
It could also mean that to take advantage of the increased nutrition, you’d have to eat the produce at a particular time of day.
However, if you grow your own fruit and veg or buy locally-grown produce, Beko’s new light tech could well help you to make the most of your fruit and vegetables.
The new range of fridge freezers with HarvestFresh technology is available to buy from the usual Beko stockists. Prices start from £449 on the Harvest Fresh CFG3691DVB 50/50 fridge freezer in black, which is currently in stock on the Currys PC World website.
You can also buy it in a matt silver finish for £469.99. Its dimensions are 191 x 59.5 x 65cm and it has a fridge capacity of 184 litres and a freezer capacity of 129 litres. As a bonus, it has a water dispenser but doesn’t need to be plumbed in.