Pick n Pay is piloting a new packaging-free zone. The ‘pick and weigh’ shopping experience will provide customers with the opportunity to purchase a wide range of quality products without any product packaging.

This trial – currently taking place in the newly revamped Pick n Pay Constantia store in Cape Town – is another step forward in Pick n Pay’s efforts to lead the change in reducing packaging and plastic waste.

There will be 88 dry grocery products across 15 different categories from which customers can choose. This includes 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 will be encouraged to bring their own reusable container, but for those who might forget theirs, the store will offer free paper bags and a range of reusable containers that can be purchased, such as a Consol jar.

“This is an innovative concept for a traditional supermarket, and we are really excited to help our customers reduce their packaging footprint,” says Paula Disberry, Retail Executive: Commercial at Pick n Pay.

She says 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.

A customer trying out the new packaging-free offering.

“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 believes 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 this year tomeasure customers’ readiness to switch from pre-packaged food to loose products.

Pick n Pay’s nude wall that launched earlier this year.

“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,” adds Disberry

Other Pick n Pay’s plastic waste reduction initiatives available in all stores:

– Pick n Pay is now offering a new budget green People n Planet reusable bag nationally after a successful trial with customers earlier this year. Partnering with The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever – two companies who are also actively implementing waste reduction initiatives – the first one million green ‘People n Planet’ reusable bags will cost just R4 per bag.

– Pick n Pay also offers customers a variety of 100% rPET PnP reusable bags with colourful photographic prints (R25) and paper bags (R2,00). These are available in all stores nationwide.

– Reusable netted fruit and vegetable fresh produce bag (R7,50). Customers can also bring their own transparent and sealable reusable bag in-store for loose selling produce.

– Pick n Pay blue carrier plastic bag is 100% recycled and recyclable.

– All plastic straws have been replaced with paper options at PnP kiosks.

– PnP paper inner earbuds have been introduced in store to provide an alternative to those with plastic inners.

– Pick n Pay continues to review and reduce its packaging used within stores.

Pictures: Supplied

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