Selfridges switches from plastics to compostable for Christmas food packaging

The retailer will be rolling out NatureFlex to a selection of its all-year-round biscuits and cakes

Selfridges Christmas range, which includes mince pies and Christmas cake, will now be packaged in 100% plastic-free material. Plastic that had been used in trays, bags and product windows has been replaced with recyclable card and a home compostable cellulose film called NatureFlex.

The NatureFlex alternative has been developed by Futamura and looks like plastic but is made from responsibly sourced wood pulp and takes eight to 10 weeks to decompose in home composts.

The cellulose film, made in Cumbria, has achieved certified status to the European (EN13432) and American (ASTM D6400) norms for industrially compostable packaging. In addition, the material has been certified by TÜV Austria to the OK Compost Home standard for home composting.

The packaging also features a sticker highlighting to consumers that it can be composted along with food waste.

As a result, around 90,000 individual mince pies and 3,000 Christmas cakes will no longer be wrapped in plastic.

Selfridges’ director of sustainability Daniella Vega said: “We know our customers share our concern for the environment and we’re continually looking at ways in which we can address the sustainability of our products as part of our Buying Better, Inspiring Change approach which sits at the heart of our business strategy.

“This includes reducing our plastic use and introducing more sustainable products and packaging. NatureFlex is an incredible alternative; it looks just like plastic but can be easily popped into the food waste bin or home compost after use. We look forward to introducing this innovative product to our customers and helping them to tackle plastic waste this festive season.”

The retailer will be rolling out NatureFlex to a selection of its all-year-round biscuits and cakes.

Festive reasons

Selfridges has also published the results of a new consumer survey, detailing the findings of demands for more environmentally responsible packaging. The YouGov poll of more than 2,100 UK consumers found that 82% are concerned about the impacts of plastic food packaging. More than half (56%) consider packaging impacts when buying Christmas food.

In May 2019, Selfridges announced that it has achieved a goal of removing palm oil from 100% of its own-brand grocery products nine months ahead of schedule.

The company also unveiled plans to stock a range of insect-based snacks, in a bid to showcase the environmental and nutritional benefits of alternative proteins to UK customers. In response to increased demand for plant-based food, Selfridges will now offer nine new vegan Christmas products, including Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Panettone and Vegan Chocolate Pralines.

More recently, the company showcased second-hand clothing at its flagship store as part of a collaboration with resale platform Depop. The retailer hosted a dedicated pop-up space, called Depop Space Selfridges, at its flagship London store throughout September.

The pop up featured second-hand clothing from some of Depop’s most popular sellers – specifically, those who are using their voice on the platform to advocate for a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie