Eco-conscious residents who shop at more expensive plastic-free stores in Cape Town can now save money and reduce their plastic waste at the same time, thanks to Pick n Pay’s new “nude” fruit and vegetable offering.

As part of a trial to measure their customers’ readiness to switch from packaged foods to loose, plastic-free products, Pick n Pay has introduced dedicated plastic and packaging-free zones across 13 stores in South Africa, more than half of which are in Cape Town.

The new “nude” wall offering will include 12 seasonal loose PnP fruit and vegetables including brown steak mushrooms, portabellini mushrooms, red and green chillies, cocktail tomatoes, sweet Palermo peppers, baby brinjals, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, sweet corn, and baby cabbage.

These new offerings will join the 35 existing fruit and vegetable products available at most Pick n Pay stores nationwide.

To complete the plastic-free shopping experience, compostable paper bags will be available to customers at the “nude” produce wall section as well, keeping plastic out of the equation while still offering convenience.

“For a further sustainable option, customers can purchase PnP’s new reusable netted fruit & vegetable fresh produce bag (R7.50) or bring their own transparent and sealable reusable bag for loose-selling produce,” the retailer said.

What the ‘nude wall’ looks like.

Only 10% of all fruit and vegetables sold in PnP are currently loose products but this percentage may increase in future depending on customer response.

“There is scope to grow our “nude” wall offering, but it needs to be sustainable and without unintended consequences. Reducing plastic waste has obvious benefits, but we need to be careful not to increase food waste levels during the process,” said Paula Disberry, Retail Executive: Commercial at Pick n Pay.

Residents in the Mother City are in luck, too, as the majority of the new plastic-free stores will be trialled in Cape Town, with eight stores across the city participating.

Cape Town locals looking to try out the new offering can do so at the following stores:

– Claremont

– Gardens

– Waterfront

– Kenilworth

– Pinelands

– Longbeach Mall

– Glen Garry

– Constantia

“Previously our loose produce range wasn’t as popular as our pre-packed products. We believe this is shifting as consumers become increasingly more conscious about the environment. The impact of plastic is now front of mind for customers. We will closely monitor shopping behaviour and if this trial is successful, we can expand the initiative to more stores,” said Pick n Pay.

Along with this move, Pick n Pay has also removed the plastic-based stickers from their existing loose range, including sweet potatoes, gem squash and butternut, to replace them with laser printing in an effort to further reduce their waste.

Picture: Pexels

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