Morrisons claims to be the first British supermarket to roll-out plastic free fruit and vegetable areas in many of its stores. Customers will be able to choose from up to 127 varieties of fruit and veg – and buy them loose or put them in recyclable paper bags.
The move follows a 10-month trial in three stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives, where the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40%. The new ‘buy bagless’ fruit and veg shelves are expected to result in a similar switch from bagged to loose – saving an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week, equating to 156 tonnes a year.
Customers will see an entire section of the fruit and veg department with no plastic. There will be a neighbouring section where customers can still buy packaged veg, if they choose. The areas will be rolled out to 60 stores during the course of 2019. They will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket chain’s ongoing store refurbishment programme nationwide.
The loose veg range includes everyday produce such as carrots, potatoes and onions as well as more unusual seasonal varieties such as celeriac. Fruit will include apples, pears, oranges, figs, persimmons and pomegranates. The expansion of the range means that for the first time at Morrisons, customers will also be able to buy loose cauliflower, white cabbage and chestnut mushrooms.
Morrisons fruit and veg director Drew Kirk said: “Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose. So we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like. We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery – and we hope customers appreciate the choice.”
The retailer said that its initiatives announced to date will remove a total of 9,000 tonnes of ‘unnecessary or problematic’ plastic each year. This figure includes174 million plastic produce bags removed from fruit and veg aisles and 600 tonnes of unrecyclable polystyrene removed from branded food and drink products. A further 1,300 tonnes of plastic will be removed as a result of the launch of paper carrier bags this month.