Introducing a so-called Waitrose Unpacked scheme, the John Lewis-owned supermarket has embarked on a sustainability crusade to change the way consumers shop
It’s common knowledge everything from food to household items is layered with plastic wrapping which is damaging the planet. Recognising this, Waitrose has launched a trial in one of its shops to try and minimise the amount of plastic used.
The Waitrose Unpacked initiative will be branded throughout its Oxford store to raise awareness and will run for an 11-week period ending on Sunday August 18. As the name suggests, the supermarket will quite literally strip back many of its products. Steps will include a borrow-a-box scheme for customers to obtain reusable tubs, package-free pick and mix to shop for frozen fruit, use of recyclable paper around flowers and 160 loose fruits and vegetables to choose from.
Other aspects of the launch include refills ranging from coffee, wine and beer to detergents and washing up liquid. Elsewhere, the supermarket will feature a devoted refillable zone that includes dispensers for 28 products such as pasta, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds.
The goal is to understand how customers may shop in the future, rather than charging in headfirst without any research to back up a nationwide rollout. And to ensure the trial is measured fairly, the packaged counterparts of all unpacked products will remain available to make it clear what shoppers opt for when presented with two distinctly different options.
Commenting on this test launch, Tor Harris, head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, said: “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.”
It will be interesting to see where the trial run will take Waitrose and how customers, and rivals alike, will respond to the move. Seemingly we’ll find out by the end of summer when the trial ends.