Waitrose has teamed up with Bangor and Aberystwyth universities to explore how Welsh ryegrass could be used to develop eco-friendly packaging for fruit and vegetables.

The project is backed by £600,000 in funds from the Welsh government, and trials are currently underway.

The researchers said they hit a milestone last week “after Bangor began heating the slurry of ryegrass to produce prototypes of the packaging”.

It was hoped these would ultimately find their way on to supermarket shelves “if they turn out to be viable, sustainable alternatives to traditional packaging,” a spokeswoman added.

In addition to Waitrose, there are five other industrial partners involved, including packaging supplier Adare.

Derek Davies, packaging technical manager for Adare, said the project was an opportunity to investigate the feasibility of ryegrass as a raw material source for food and non-food packaging.

“We’re keen to develop our range of practical, environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic formats, and we’re confident that this project could further augment this range of options.”