Retailer Iceland has announced that it is removing plastic packaging from its fruit and vegetable range in a trial to see whether consumers are willing to buy loose products for cheaper rather than in packaging.
The trial will take place at The Food Warehouse store in North Liverpool and will last for 12 weeks.
It will see 35 produce lines sold loose and a further 27 switched to plastic-free packaging alternatives, including recyclable paper pulp punnets for soft fruits and cotton nets for onions.
Mark the date! The Recycling Event is happening & is in partnership with nine trade associations. Find out more: https://www.therecyclingevent.com/
To encourage shoppers to choose the loose items, Iceland has set the prices of all loose product lines lower than those in pre-packaged equivalents.
Customers will also have access to an in-store ‘greengrocer’ service where staff will help them select, weigh and ticket their fruit and vegetables.
To measure the impact of the trial, it will run the trial alongside a customer survey, which will ask consumers about the problems of purchasing plastic-free items and whether they enjoy the ‘greengrocer’ experience.
Iceland will also ask for opinions on compostable packaging and current recycling policies, with the survey results then being shared with Defra as part of its consultations into the measures outlined in the Resources and Waste Strategy.
If the results are favourable, the retailer may introduce the ‘greengrocer’ idea to more of its UK stores.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: “Over 12 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year and the retail industry can no longer ignore the plastics tidal wave which is coming our way,”
“We all have a part to play in tackling the issue and Iceland is constantly looking for ways to reduce its own plastic footprint, as we work towards our commitment. We are looking forward to seeing how our customers respond to the trial and taking forward learnings to inform the rest of our journey.”