Pick n Pay is piloting a new packaging-free zone at its Constantia store in Cape Town.
The retailer says that the zone will provide customers with the opportunity to purchase a wide range of products without packaging.
The new zone includes 88 dry grocery products across 15 different categories including dry baking goods, cereals, dried fruit, flour, grains, ground coffee beans, nuts, pasta, pulses and beans, rice, seeds, spices, superfoods, olive oil and vinegar. Each category will have a range of products, including gluten-free options.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable container, but for those who forget, the store will offer free paper bags and a range of reusable containers that can be purchased.
“This is an innovative concept for a traditional supermarket, and we are really excited to help our customers reduce their packaging footprint,” said Paula Disberry, retail executive: commercial at Pick n Pay.
She said that all the products are sourced directly from suppliers and are delivered to the store in large reusable containers before being decanted into containers in the packaging-free zone.
This means that no new packaging is used in delivering the items to the store.
During the trial, Pick n Pay hopes to identify the top 20 or 30 products and roll out packaging-free zones to more stores across the country.
“We will closely monitor customer appetite for this offering and based on their feedback, will decide how to expand this offering. While all items are non-perishable with a naturally long shelf life, food waste is still a concern because without packaging, products will have a shorter shelf life,” Disberry said.
Disberry saids customers will embrace the opportunity to purchase packaging-free products, judging by the positive reaction to the ‘nude’ fruit and vegetable produce wall trial Pick n Pay ran in July to measure customers’ readiness to switch from pre-packaged food to loose products.
“The number of stores offering customers a ‘nude’ fruit and vegetable produce wall has more than doubled since our trial launched, from just 13 stores to 29.
“Stores have also extended the range to offer 24 seasonal loose PnP fruit and vegetables, up from 12 products. At this special section in the store, free paper bags are provided or customers can purchase a PnP reusable netted fresh-produce bags (R7,50) or bring their own clear and sealable container,” said Disberry.