UK retailer Iceland is trialling plastic-free and low-plastic packaging solutions across several of its fruit and vegetable lines, reducing the amount of plastic packaging used on its fresh produce lines by 93%.
The trial was launched in 33 UK stores on 22 January, and covers 38 fruit and vegetable lines. Products involved in the trial will utilise packaging solutions that are either plastic-free or have significantly reduced plastic content.
Phase one of the trial saw 27 products including oranges, peppers and tomatoes launched in redeveloped packaging. A further 11 product lines will be added in phase two, which will launch on 4 March.
The new trial supports Iceland’s goal to remove plastic packaging from its entire range of own-label products by 2023, and Iceland states that an estimated seven tonnes of plastic will be removed as a result of the trial, while up to 440 tonnes could be removed if it proves successful and is rolled out nationwide.
Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland, said: “We understand that consumers are particularly aware of the amount of plastic being used to package produce across the industry and we’ve been working hard to develop user-friendly, sustainable alternatives.
“This trial is the largest ever of its kind and we’re excited to see how customers respond to the range of solutions provided. The trial is truly scalable and our findings will help to further define our strategy for eliminating plastic across our produce offering.
“Most importantly, customers will not have to pay a premium for the plastic-free or reduced plastic products as prices will remain exactly the same, and we’re proud to be democratising choice in this way.”
The retailer has made a number of sustainability commitments in recent times, including the launch of a reverse vending trial to increase recycling rates of plastic bottles.
This reverse vending trial was launched in 2018, and rewarded consumers for recycling plastic bottles by giving them a voucher worth £0.10 for every deposit of a bottle purchased at the shops. The retailer reported that over one million plastic bottles were recycled as a result of the scheme.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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