In a bid to curb its dependence on plastic packaging, supermarket giant Marks & Spencer is launching more than 90 lines of loose fruit and vegetables.
The imitative will first be trialled at its Tolworth store where M&S has introduced trained greengrocers who will be on hand to offer customers advice as they select from two aisles of loose fruit and veg.
The range goes from hard fruit and veg like potatoes and bananas to more perishable items such as soft fruits and berries. These, M&S said, will be sold in compositable punnets.
The greengrocers will also provide tips on how best to preserve fresh produce and prevent food waste at home, as M&S has removed “best before” date labels from fresh fruit and veg as part of the store trial in a move similar to a scheme at Tesco.
Running concurrently to the Tolworth trial, M&S said it has committed to launching additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable plastic alternatives in every UK store. This, it said, could save 580 tonnes of plastic waste over two years.
The plan will involve replacing plastic produce bags with paper ones and phasing out plastic barcode stickers in favour of eco-friendly alternatives.
“We know our customers want to play their part in cutting out plastic, while as a business our goal is to become zero-waste by 2025,” said Head of Food Sustainability Louise Nicholls.
“That’s why we’re working hard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we use without compromising on food quality and contributing to waste.
“Our trial at Tolworth is an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey and bringing back the traditional greengrocer will play a key part in educating our customers.
“Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible insights from the Tolworth store trial.”
The three-month trial at Tolworth will be the springboard for M&S’s long-term plastic reduction strategy, providing insights and customer feedback for an effective approach across all stores.
The initiative supports M&S’s target of becoming a zero-waste business by 2025.