Tesco trials plastic-free fruit and veg selection

Supermarket Tesco is trialling packaging-free fresh produce at two stores in Watford and Swindon, in a bid to monitor whether the remove of plastic packaging for select products will impact levels of food waste.

Tesco is the latest supermarket to trial packaging-free fresh produce in a bid to cut back on plastic waste

Tesco is the latest supermarket to trial packaging-free fresh produce in a bid to cut back on plastic waste

Tesco has today (25 March) removed plastic-wrapped packaging from 45 foods at the Watford Extra and Swindon Extra stores. Instead, shoppers will see varieties of apples, mushrooms, peppers, onions, bananas and avocados as loose produce.

The supermarket will survey shoppers to gauge reaction and food waste levels of each product will be monitored to see if packaging serves a purpose.

Tesco’s director of quality Sarah Bradbury said: “We want to remove as much plastic as we can from our products, only using what is necessary to protect and preserve our food. We hope this trial proves popular with customers.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results, including any impact on food waste.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to keep reducing the amount of packaging we use and ensure everything on our shelves is fully recyclable.” 

The UK’s largest grocer published its Little Helps plan in 2017, which includes packaging targets of halving packaging by weight against a 2007 baseline by 2025 - having reduced packaging by weight by 37% since 2007. Other targets include making all packaging compostable or recyclable and ensuring all paper and card is sustainably sourced.

Tesco is also working with rival supermarkets to uncover a solution for hard-to-recycle black plastic that places recycled content into food-grade packaging. It is estimated that the UK’s major supermarket are producing more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste annually.

The supermarket has also announced intentions to stop housing products in hard-to-recycle materials by the end of 2019 and was the first retailer to publicly disclose its packaging data.

edie has requested information on the duration of the trial. 

Supermarket sweeping solution

Tesco is the latest supermarket to trial packaging-free fresh produce in a bid to cut back on plastic waste. Last week, Aldi removed the flexible plastic wrapping from five of its fresh vegetable lines in its Scottish stores.

Elsewhere, Iceland unveiled a scheme at its food warehouse in Liverpool, where 35 produce lines are being sold loose as part of a 12-week pilot. Similarly, Marks & Spencer (M&S) recently removed plastic packaging and ‘best-before’ dates from 90 of its fresh fruit and vegetable lines at its Tolworth store in Surbiton.

Matt Mace


Data | Food waste | packaging | tesco | Plastics | waste management


Waste & resource management

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