By Angus Howarth – The Scotsman
Morrisons is to become the first supermarket chain to remove packaging from its fruit and vegetables.
The company said customers would be able to choose from up to 127 varieties of fruit and veg in many of its stores, buying them loose or putting them in recyclable paper bags.
However, there will continue to be a neighbouring section where customers can still buy packaged veg, if they choose
The move follows a ten-month trial in three English stores where the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40 per cent.
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.
Drew Kirk, director of fruit and veg at Morrisons, 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.”
Retailers are under increased pressure from consumers to reduce the amount of packaging they use amid concern for the environment and the amount of plastic being found in the world’s oceans.
When Morrisons customers buy loose fruit and veg, they can either take them through the checkout loose or bag them in Morrisons recyclable paper bags.
The loose fruit and veg areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores during the course of the year.
They will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment programme nationwide.
Upmarket chain Waitrose removed all plastic bags from its stores earlier this year.
A home compostable alternative is used for fruit and vegetable plastic bags.
Last year, the supermarket announced it would remove all disposable paper cups from its stores as a pledge to help the environment.
And earlier this year Tesco began a trial to remove a selection of plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetables, removing plastic packaging from 45 foods where loose alternatives are available. The items include apples, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bananas and avocados.
The development comes after Tesco announced last year that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025.