In response to a growing customer demand for refillables, Waitrose is launching more new products as part of its ‘Unpacked’ refillable concept. Consumers can take their own food storage containers into the four stores where the Unpacked concept is trialling. The retailer says that Unpacked trials are to ‘test how customers might shop in the future.’
Encouraging the use of reusable food containers, Waitrose.com provides this advice to consumers who visit its refill sections: ‘The containers can be any material, size, shape or weight, but if you don’t have anything to hand at home, you’re welcome to buy bags/containers in store.’ The retailer suggests consumers: ‘consider what containers would work best for the product, as you add it to your shopping list.’ It also reminds consumer to bring a reusable coffee cup to enjoy a brew in store.
Waitrose states that sales of refillables at its four Unpacked shops (Oxford Botley Road, Cheltenham, Wallingford and Abingdon) have grown by nearly 9% in the past six months. Sales of refillable frozen fruit and vegetables for the same period have increased by more than 50%, detergent and washing-up liquid sales have grown by 24% and pulses, pasta and grains have risen by almost 8%. New additions include leaf tea and dried fruit.
In January Waitrose became the first national supermarket to integrate unpacked items into its regular aisles at Wallingford, rather than having a single unpacked area, to see if this would increase take up. The move has helped sales of refillables at the shop increase by more than 20% in the ten weeks of the test to date.
Top: Waitrose’ image of packaging free shopping, using reusable food containers