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Industry

Waitrose trials ‘pick and mix’ groceries

Waitrose has announced it is trialling a packaging-free store with dedicated refilling zones and ‘pick and mix’ frozen food.

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The supermarket is trialling its first packaging-free store

As part of the supermarket’s effort to reduce the amount of packaging and plastic used in its stores, Waitrose is testing a new way of shopping at its Botley Road store in Oxford.

The store has the largest number of loose fruit and vegetable lines of any national supermarket, according to Waitrose. It has removed plastic wrap from its range of flowers and indoor plants and has launched refillable options for various other groceries including wine and beer to cereals and coffee, as well as cleaning products.

Tor Harris, head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners says: “We are determined to build on the work we’ve already done to reduce packaging - and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.

“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.”

This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future

The trial will last 11 weeks, during which Waitrose will be seeking feedback from customers on the new way of food shopping.

The supermarket chain is also trialling what it calls a UK-first in a borrow-a-box-scheme, whereby customers can pay to borrow cardboard boxes to shop with and return on their next visit.

Packaged equivalents of all the products will still be available in the store to assess customer attitudes and whether they opt for the packaging-free products or not.

Many companies are reassessing their use of single-use plastic in what is being called the ‘David Attenborough effect’, who has brought the world’s attention to the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans through his BBC series Blue Planet.

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