NEWS: Waitrose ups festive loose veg

Waitrose has stocked up on loose vegetables as they expect shoppers to shun single use plastic packaging during their Christmas shop.

The retailer has increased orders of its six best-selling loose vegetables at Christmas by 75% this year compared to last.

Bosses say it follows 'significant sales growth as sales of packaged equivalents have decreased'. and shoppers try to have a zero waste Christmas.

Over the past ten months sales of loose broccoli are up eight per cent and sales of loose parsnips have risen by six per cent - a year ago they were in decline.

Loose carrots and loose red potatoes sales are up by 21% and 23% respectively in the past two months alone and sales of loose sprouts are outperforming their packaged version by five per cent.

Waitrose & Partners fresh produce buyer Paul Bidwell, said: “For the last 20 years the convenience of packaged produce has seen it outsell loose, but as consumers have become increasingly environmentally conscious and wanting to buy only what they need, we could be returning to how people used to shop with loose produce making a big comeback.

"We know we have a lot of work still to do to encourage customers to buy more loose fruit and vegetables, but there are signs we are seeing a shift in customer behaviour and we want to build on that momentum.”

Separately, the retailer has confirmed that sales of refillables at its four Waitrose Unpacked shops where it is currently testing taking a number of products out of their packaging, including pasta, lentils, cereals, frozen fruit, coffee, wine and beer, are outselling their packaged equivalent by 68%.

At its Oxfordshire Botley Road shop, where the concept originally launched in June, Waitrose fusilli pasta and long grain rice are outselling their packaged versions by 37% and 78% respectively. Refillable porridge oats are also up 78%, red lentils are up by 62% and dried soft figs by almost 50%.

Waitrose Unpacked launched at Botley Road in June and was introduced in Cheltenham in September and Wallingford and Abingdon in November. The shops all have a dedicated refillable zone which includes dispensers for dried products, frozen ‘pick and mix’, coffee, wine and beer refills, as well as detergent and washing up liquid refillables.

As part of a commitment to make Waitrose & Partners own-brand packaging 'reusable, widely recyclable or home compostable by 2023' the retailer has pledged to:

  • Reduce the amount of own-brand packaging, including plastics, by a third by 2023.

  • Remove 20% of plastic from own-brand ranges by the end of 2021.

  • Ensure branded and own-brand packaging contain at least 30% recycled content by 2021.

  • Ban non-recyclable plastic from all branded and own-brand packaging by 2021.

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