Refills at WaitroseEthical Food & Drink News & Features
Waitrose & Partners has transformed its Botley Road shop in Oxford and taken hundreds of products out of their packaging, in a test designed to help the retailer understand how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future.
It has the largest number of loose fruit and vegetable lines of any national supermarket, has removed plastic wrap from its flowers and indoor plants and has launched refillable options for everything from wine to beer and cereals to coffees as well as cleaning products.
‘This is a genuinely bold step from Waitrose to trial food dispensers so customers can use refillable tubs and jars.
‘Lots of supermarkets are starting to sell loose fruit and vegetables, which is good, but more importantly this kind of innovation could spark a refill culture that’s so desperately needed to cut plastics in mainstream shops.
‘The top 10 UK supermarkets produce 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging each year, so we need to see other major retailers taking plastic reduction seriously and following Waitrose’s lead.’
Ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK
How will customers shop?
The ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ test will run for a period of 11 weeks until 18 August as the supermarket seeks as much feedback as possible. A feedback survey will also be available on its website page, and #WaitroseUnpacked will feature on Twitter and Instagram.
Packaged equivalents of the products will remain in their usual areas to create an effective test, so Waitrose and Partners can see which option customers go for.
‘This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.’
Head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners
160 loose fruit and vegetable products will be available at the store – the most loose fruit and vegetable lines offered by any national supermarket.
Frozen mango, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple and raspberries are free of packaging and will be available as ‘pick and mix’.
Plastic wrap has been removed from all flowers and indoor plants and replaced with 100% recyclable and 100% PEFC-certified craft paper.
Four different wines and four different beers available on tap to take home in reusable bottles to cut down on the use of glass bottles.
Customers can grind one of four coffees in store to take home in a reusable container to reduce glass and plastic packaging.
28 products including pasta, rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds have been taken out of packaging and will be available through dispensers.
In a UK first, shoppers can borrow-a-box from store to shop with and then take home before returning on their next visit.