New Zealand supermarkets go nude and ditch plastic

05 02 2019 | 12:04

A number of New Zealand supermarkets have taken the initiative to abandon the use of plastic wrapping for fruit and vegetable in an effort to bring people ‘food in the nude’.

The move has yielded immediate results not only in terms of reducing plastic waste but also in boosting sales, with sales of some vegetables increasing by over 300 per cent. One supermarket owner said the situation reminded him of shopping when he was a child.

“It reminded me of when I was a kid going to the fruiterer with my Dad, you could smell the fresh citrus and spring onions,” said Nigel Bond, owner of a New World supermarket in Christchurch.

“By wrapping products in plastic we sanitise and deprive people of this experience; it was a huge driver for us.”

Plastic wrapping has been completely removed from most products, with the remainder using recyclable plastic or cardboard containers. Bond said the reception from customers had been overwhelmingly positive.

“When you take on these projects they can be a disaster and lead to customer pushback but in my 30 years in the supermarket industry this simple change has resulted in the most positive feedback from customers I have ever received.”

The move is just the latest in a slew of initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste in New Zealand, with the government agreeing to a mandatory phase-out of single-use plastic bags from July 1 this year. An estimated 252,000 tonnes of plastic waste winds up in New Zealand landfills every year, while leakage into waterways is also a significant concern.

The group of supermarkets are also trialling another initiative where customers can bring their own containers for meat and seafood.




5 February 2019

Liam Taylor