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Would you buy your supermarket produce loose, out of packaging?

Waitrose takes hundreds of products out of packaging for waste reduction trial

The scheme will test out ideas that have the potential to save on thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging, the retailer says.

Customers will be able to fill up their own containers with products ranging from pasta and wine to washing up liquid as part of a trial by Waitrose.

The scheme will provide a dedicated refill zone with dispensers for a range of products, as well as the UK’s first supermarket “pick and mix” for frozen fruit including mango, strawberries and pineapple, the retailer said.

Customers will be able to “borrow a box” from the store to shop with and then return on their next visit.

Waitrose & Partners said the ideas have the potential to save on thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging.

They are being tested at the store in Botley Road, Oxford, which has been transformed to take hundreds of products out of their packaging for the Waitrose Unpacked trial.

The ideas being trialled include a frozen fruit pick and mix

Packaged equivalents of the products will remain in their usual areas to create an effective test to see if shoppers change how they shop.

The scheme includes:

– 160 loose fruit and vegetable products

– Frozen mango, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple and raspberries available as pick and mix

– Plastic removed from flowers and plants and replaced with 100% recyclable craft paper

– A partnership with Ecover providing an automatic detergent and washing up liquid dispenser

– Four wines and four beers available on tap to take home in reusable bottles

– Four coffees can be ground to take home in a reusable container

– 28 products including pasta, rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds available through dispensers

The trial will run for 11 weeks until August 18, and the supermarket is seeking as much feedback as possible.

Tor Harris, from Waitrose & Partners, said: “We are determined to build on the work we’ve already done to reduce packaging, and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.

“This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for.

“We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”

Ariana Densham, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “This is a genuinely bold step from Waitrose to trial food dispensers so customers can use refillable tubs and jars.

“Lots of supermarkets are starting to sell loose fruit and vegetables, which is good, but more importantly this kind of innovation could spark a refill culture that’s so desperately needed to cut plastics in mainstream shops.

“The top 10 UK supermarkets produce 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging each year, so we need to see other major retailers taking plastic reduction seriously and following Waitrose’s lead.”

What are your views?  Would you be happy to dispense your food into your own containers? Would you like to see that in all supermarkets? 

Would you buy your supermarket produce loose, out of packaging?

897 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Charla
4 days ago
0
Thanks for voting!
I buy much of our fruit and vegetables from a local farm shop. You pick what you want and paper bags are available for packaging them.
Tanker01
2nd Aug 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
A good idea. As a keen recycler this would reduce the impact of non recyclable packaging and products on the environment. As Nellyliew said when growing up it was all loose from the local greengrocer and it never did us any harm.
Nellyliew
28th Jul 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
I used to shop at the local markets as a child with my mum's tartan shopping trolley. Most produce was bagged up in brown paper bags, but often they would be shoveled straight into your bag from the silver weigher. It never bothered us that things were just sitting next to each other. We just got home and retrieved them and ate them.
Missymoo
26th Jul 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I do already .Have my own drawstring weightless bags
Kay21
19th Jul 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I always get my fruit and veg loose whenever possible
Silver fern
17th Jul 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
Good idea especially if you live alone
Marl
14th Jul 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I would be so glad if all supermarkets start selling loose produce. I have so much waste because i have to buy packaged fruit and veg at Morrisons .It goes off before I can use it all. So a big YES!!! from me.
NAN2
28th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
We do not need packaging it goes straight into bin when you get home .
Gillymac
28th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
We did it before so why can’t we d it again ? Y Mum had a wee shop and everything was either weighed and placed in your shopping bag or cut off a block or joint and wrapped in grease proof paper . Cheese bacon etc , potatoes and all veg . It wasn’t difficult and there was no plastic packaging to dispose of when you got home .
SueC62
28th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
As a single, I want to be able to buy all my fresh produce in singles or loose. Where I can't, I freeze what I don't want and am experimenting with fruits and veggies so nothing gets thrown out.
Bikergran666
18th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
I detest supermarket packeting!!!! Bananas and cucumber are my biggest bug bear. For goodness sake they already have skins on them that we peel off to eat so why the unnecessary covering of plastic???? Doesn’t fruit ‘sweat’ in plastic. Ok rant over I’m off for a glass of wine or should that be whine!!! lol
ValS72
14th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
When I was a kid my Dad was a grocer manager for United Dairies and I would go every Sunday and help him Measure and weigh the sugar and butter.Sugar in blue bags ,butter wrapped in greaseproof paper. Bacon was sliced as required by customer at the time.
Happy Days
Jemima2uk
14th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
My local Sainsburys store seems to be going in the opposite direction! - they are now only selling pre packed mushrooms. This is not only using unnecessary packaging, but encouraging food waste, Until recently, mushrooms were sold loose & brown paper bags provided to put them in. I asked an assistant why the change had been made, she didn't know. So I now purchase mine where I can buy the actual quantity I require.
Bikergran666
25th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
Well done Jemimazuk,

I have often emailed supermarkets to offer feedback about their products etc.

If we (the consumers) don’t let them know how dissatisfied we are with their items or packaging they will never know or change.

I agree with you, as I think the biggest form of protest is to shop elsewhere but do let them know. 🙂
AnneH56
11th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
Even on the news yesterday morning they were featuring a shop that had been trading for over a year with “loose goods”. My fear is the products on display are often in open tubs, sacks and other containers which are susceptible to germs and “handling” by children. Whilst the shop owner was being interviewed there was evidence of a young child with his fingers in an open container just “playing” with the products on sale. Made me cringe!
Margaret Buie
11th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
We never had plastic bags in my day it was thick paper bags and grease proof paper for wrapping cheese bacon and cooked meat plus you could buy only as much produce as you needed
granmabones
10th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
Fantastic idea, can we have the return of paper bags also.
Irene88
8th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I hate all this packaging. bring back paper bags please.
BaW
8th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I voted yes, and take my own bags to put things in if they are available without plastic packaging...but do have concerns over other people's fingers on fresh produce...ok these items are washed before use, but I shudder at the thought of a fingernail breaking the skin of an apple or whatever.
Soft fruit or other such vulnerable produce would need to be in cardboard perhaps.
There are alternatives to plastic for wrapping...the National Trust send out members' magazines in a fully biodegradable envelope made from potato starch...and there are possibilities using hemp.
Johnshak1
8th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
I do where ever possible
Loodt
7th Jun 2019
-1
Thanks for voting!
I can remember when white sugar was introduced as : Untouched by human hands.

Keep snotty fingers away from the food I buy>
Lionel
7th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I see three people have been killed by eating contaminated pre-packed sandwiches supplied to the NHS.

Now what price all this plastic packaging?
mrscomfyman
7th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I seem to remember that that is how is used to be sold years ago.
Johnshak1
8th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
That's how it should be
dibank
7th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
I think of lot of things can be put in paper bags as we did years ago. some thing we need to have covered ie fruit salad but returnable containers could be sourced with a deposit for returns.
just like bottles all these kids shouting about the environment could then start taking them back for money. also poorer kids could get themselves a little something by tidying others waste.
Cathy56
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
Did it when I was younger & I'm still alive & kicking so what's the difference between then & now??
Denys1954
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
This is nothing new, we used to have a shop that sold nothing but loose goods years ago but the big supermarkets put it out of business..
Surfer Pete
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
Yes - government should ban all plastic packaging asap. It's a total no-brainer and the supermarkets won't stop until they are legally obliged to.
KimF6
7th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
Not so very long ago and I come from a country in Africa, where there was no such thing as plastic wrapping or bags. Everything was weighed and popped in your own carry bag or maybe put in a paper bag or carton to take home.
jan53
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
I think people need to realise that you wash your veg and salad so the comments stating it’s open in the shop aren’t relevant , also I would as much food as I could loose ,we have to start to get rid of packaging especially plastic ,I would also like to see returnable glass bottles for milk and soft drinks .
Wendiz
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
We used as youngsters I remember my mother frequently buying loose food eg cereal, biscuits, fruit, veg potatoes etc why not now. It wasn’t such a bad idea then was it?
CoffeeCake
6th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
Waitrose are not the first chain to do this. Whole Foods Market in the US have done this for years! They now also have a couple of stores in London but have not seen a store elsewhere in the UK
Yodama
6th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
It is, maybe a step in the right direction. I would give it a go and see what happens. If all products are kept in encased containers, I see no problem with contamination.
Time for the bright minds out there to come up with ideas.
RuthT48
6th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
All shops should ideally adopt this practice .
Alicia
6th Jun 2019
-4
Thanks for voting!
No it has probably been handled by lots of people with filthy hands and I expect it has been sneezed on as well.
gardengirl
6th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I would be prepared to buy certain products loose, but things like fruit and salad as shown in your advert I would be very cautious. I feel that it should be covered and not open. People stand over the food and sometimes are talking over it. This also goes for a lot of food in other shop. Germs can be spread this way.
jeanmark
7th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
But surely we are advised to wash all fruit and vegetables before use, a good practice to adopt whether wrapped or not. As to 'germs', well they can be spread in all kinds of ways, just standing in a queue is risky!
gardengirl
7th Jun 2019
-1
Thanks for voting!
I am referring to ready prepared fruit and salads. Perhaps if a lid was attached to lift to serve or a sliding window I would feel more happy with the idea. I understand that germs are spread in many ways and our bodies are made to cope. I am all for cutting down on plastic and I recycle as much as I possible can.
jeanmark
7th Jun 2019
-1
Thanks for voting!
That makes more sense now and yes, I agree they should be covered by a lid that protect the content until needed.
jentie51
5th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
I would love to see this in my local supermarket. There's so much unnecessary packaging produced by the food industry which is next to impossible to recycle. Roll on the day this is universally the norm.
Billythequiche
5th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
Of course we would use this, our generation would keep and reuse everything possible. How many households had balls of string and elastic bands? Bags and sheets of brown paper were hoarded assiduously. The idea is not new, in the very early seventies I worked in one of the earliest Fine Fare hypermarkets. Apart from the first "travelator", one of its features was a large, loose frozen food counter. There have been several bulk buy shops selling loose dry goods from large tubs but they seem to have vanished with the decline of the high street. There are issues to be solved. Having worked in food, I am used to the disregard some people have for basic hygiene. Ignoring the utensils/scoops provided for food and sampling. Staff would have to be retrained in the forgotten skills of keeping bulk goods in prime condition
Taking "Tupperware" or "Lockboxes" along when shopping seems sensible. I know that they are plastic but we have some that we have had for many years. I am are that recyclable variants could be designed.
kentrix39
5th Jun 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
My first job at eleven years old was working in a grocery store in Strathpeffer in Scotland. I served in the shop and delivered produce on the shop bike and in a van driven by Mr Wilson's daughter.
In the shop all stuff was weighed out in brown paper bags according to the customers requirements, no plastic in those days.
I would be willing to accept my goods in bags weighed out for provided a counter was provided where a member of staff worked. Or pre weighed and bagged goods were on shelves labelled and sealed.
Certainly not help yourself type stalls except for fruit and veg.
midgeor
5th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I would definitely buy items in this way, especially dry goods. The item I am not so sure about is the frozen fruit., because I am not sure how safe it is from contamination. I hope this trial is very successful and that Waitrose roll it out in stores across the country. Come on other supermarkets, you can do this too and what a difference it would make.
DipsyDitsy
4th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
Even nowadays, on the market, I can pass a couple of bags over, one for the veg and one for the fruit that I am buying. No need for plastic or paper bags. As a child, the shoppers at the fruit and veg stall always had a bag or old brown paper carrier for their potatoes which were still dirty with varying amounts of soil still on them. Shoppers were happy to put their purchases straight into their shopping bags where possible. Egg boxes were reused on numerous occasions. Stall holders used to ask, 'do you need a bag'.
There are still so many people out in the shops and markets with plastic carriers. Where have all the shopping bags gone. Shoppers seem more likely to have bags with them rather than buy carriers when I am in the supermarket but there is so many pre-packaged goods in the trolleys that the message doesn't seem to be hitting home yet.
jeanmark
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
I have been doing that for a number of months and it is so easy to take you own containers plus paper bags. Frozen food etc usually have utensils to use. Waitress has started but many supermarkets would oblige if you took your own containers.
sandy1948
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
brilliant idea should be rolled out bye all supermarkets
Doll
4th Jun 2019
1
Thanks for voting!
Agree with lots of the comments here. Dried foodstuffs great. But grubby fingers in the frozen fruit- No
overworkedmum
4th Jun 2019
3
Thanks for voting!
I already use small local shops that sell all basic food straight into my own containers!!
Gorgeous56
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
A brilliant idea. I would prefer to buy this way. Less waste and plastic. This should be brought in to all supermarkets.
NicolaS62
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
I have been waiting for a supermarket to do this. Well done Waitrose. I just hope the one near me will do it.
jacacc1210
4th Jun 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
I would prefer to buy my items loose and just get what I need. Hopefully this will help to reduce prices, waste and be better for the environment and our oceans. I hate shopping and seeing all the packaging especially when there is no need for it. Hopefully shopping outlet will follow suit and help reduce plastic waste.
SusanneJ5
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I would prefer to take my own box and weigh out produce. Firstly, it will save everything coming in a plastic box and also I will be able to buy produce for one person and not for a whole family. Definitely get my vote. I hope Tesco will start doing this.
ElisabethR
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
Where possible I do buy loose items...I sneak up on goods that go in paper bags and use them to put things. Must annoy Tesc so much.....lol
Wipeout
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
Absolutely the only way to go... I expect there are a few of us on here that remember when their was limited packaging and we all carried shopping bags... ahhh the simple life.
thewife
4th Jun 2019
3
Thanks for voting!
Very good idea. Asda appears to be amongst the worst offenders. Plastic with everything in their stores.
Sallykudosfxcom
4th Jun 2019
3
Thanks for voting!
Great idea but needs to be priced accordingly
[email protected]
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
So good for single people,there is always waste when you are on your own.
Wilf
4th Jun 2019
4
Thanks for voting!
Brilliant idea well done Waitrose!-next step lets have recycled paper bags instead of plastic ones..little by little we will get rid of plastic.
DianeM54
4th Jun 2019
4
Thanks for voting!
Absolutely in favour - an easy way to make a difference to plastic waste
gillyflower13
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
The dried foods and fruit and veg using paper bags yes definitely. Not so keen on the pick and mix of prepared foods as have previously picked up an infection from a salad bar. Not everyone washes their hands or uses the scoops provided!
SueC62
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I'd be up for this and already, if buying loose items, keep them loose and don't put them in a plastic bag, although I do put bread items in the paper bags supplied. It annoys me that my local Tesco, if I buy prepacked meat or fish, insist on putting it in another plastic bag. The original packaging should be safe enough!

In a Lidl abroad, they have large tubs of frozen shellfish and calamari with scoops. My local Lidl sells nuts loose with scoops and some bread is loose with tongs to select. The only issue I see is where people manually handle items such as bread, that they then put back, rather than using tongs.
Maudie98
4th Jun 2019
4
Thanks for voting!
A great idea for some products but may not be suitable for others for those people -including me - who have allergies due to the risk of cross-contamination.
violetM
4th Jun 2019
3
Thanks for voting!
Frozen fruit may not work but most other products will Maybe paper bags could be on offer instead of our containers. Would have to buy some of these and they are mostly plastic.
caroleannetroops
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I would probably think twice about the frozen fruit, I would be concerned that the hands of people using it before me may not have been clean and you can't wash frozen fruit.
RichardH23
4th Jun 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
This system would enable those people living alone to buy just what they want with out wasting any.
SueC62
4th Jun 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
I always had an issue with this but since retiring I've been experimenting with freezing vegetables and fruit so I don't have to bin anything.
MargaretM826
4th Jun 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
Great but could take further .
Would also like paper bags on offer on suitable self fill product .
Also individually priced items on clean veg/ fruit items such as baking potatoes , no packaging needed .
CCHRISTOF
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
Recycled paper bags, of course.
Bald123
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
Yes I think its a brilliant idea-lets get rid of plastic.
Marley444
4th Jun 2019
5
Thanks for voting!
I would happily buy frozen fruit loose - I do now from my local Farm Shop - and also things like pasta and rice which would mean I could get smaller quantities. I am unsure I would like to do fill your own wine bottles though ... not quite sure how this would work? Also I wonder how will this will work if you do online shopping?
CCHRISTOF
4th Jun 2019
2
Thanks for voting!
Wine would be sold in recycled bottles.
Mary Lincoln
4th Jun 2019
6
Thanks for voting!
Yes. We never had plastic bags after the war only paper. We had pick and mix and help yourself. The only thing that would put me off is if people went round the fruit and vegetables squeezing them as they do on the markets.
Bald123
4th Jun 2019
7
Thanks for voting!
But we all used to do that Mary and I doubt if people suffered
Lesliescott
4th Jun 2019
7
Thanks for voting!
Yes I try to get as much as I can that has not got any plastic on it so if it was all loose would be a bonus

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