Is this going to be the year for zero-waste stores?

There’s been a rise in awareness of the damage that plastic does to the planet in recent years, and we’ve seen the multiple retailers introduce package-free shopping. So has sustainable shopping now gone mainstream, is this going to be the year for zero waste stores and if so, just how viable is this new approach?

A recent survey by Global Data indicated that 71.3% of Brits are willing to use food refill services in order to cut down on waste.

Last year, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer became the first major retailers to trial buy and fill or bring-your-own reusable containers initiatives in response to growing concerns from consumers around excessive plastic waste from food packaging.

Then Asda followed suit by kicking off with the launch of their refill scheme at its Leeds, Middleton store.

And in December last year, M&S extended the scheme into further stores and also encouraged customers to bring their own, reusable containers to its Market Place food-to-go counters and receiving a 25p discount off each meal for doing so.

M&S Store

However, it’s clear that when plastic is used as immediate wrapping for fresh fruit and vegetables it can significantly increase their shelf life and reduce waste, as indeed it does with various other foods such as baked goods.

So one size won’t fit all but there are many foods that won’t suffer detrimentally by removing their plastic packaging either in whole or in part.

Dry foods are perfect for this initiative and indeed, the retail pioneers in the zero-waste space have focused on foods such as pasta, rice, flour, sugar, spices, cereals for example.

The Clean Kilo in Birmingham is a brilliant example of how to create a fantastic and different customer experience around zero waste – well worth a visit.

If you’d like to find out more about how I’ve been helping clients in the zero-waste space, take a look at Food Brand Strategist.

And take a look at Street Food Box my own, exciting initiative to reduce single use plastics.

If you’d like to chat about my extensive research and resources relating to reuse rather than recycling, ping an email so we can schedule a call.

Last Updated on 17/03/2023 by Eddie Stableford

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