M&S FOOD EXPANDS PLASTIC-FREE GROCERY REFILL CONCEPT TO THIRD STORE
M&S Food’s brand-new test and learn renewal store in Staines, Two Rivers Shopping Centre, has become the third to feature the retailer’s popular Fill Your Own concept, supporting customers to reduce and reuse with over 50 lines of refillable grocery essentials and frozen fruit.
Customer demand for Fill Your Own has remained strong since it was first introduced to M&S Hedge End last December and Manchester in March this year. The extensive grocery range spans pasta, rice, cereal and confectionery and customers in Staines can also shop refillable frozen fruit such as mango, pineapple and raspberries.
As M&S continues to adapt the initiative based on learnings and feedback, the latest launch will see bolder and brighter messaging to highlight the quality and value customers trust – from Eat Well to Remarksable Value lines.
The Fill Your Own initiative supports M&S Food’s plan to reduce, reuse and recycle packaging together with its customers and has the potential to prevent thousands of units of plastic from being used.
Paul Willgoss, M&S Food’s Director of Food Technology, commented:
“As we continue testing and learning from Fill Your Own, it’s clear that demand for refillables remains strong. We know families particularly enjoy shopping the concept as a fun activity, so our new store in the popular Staines shopping centre is the ideal next location for Fill Your Own. But most importantly, our customers care about the issue of plastic and this initiative is just one part of our plan to help them reduce, reuse and recycle – because we know our actions today will help to protect the planet tomorrow.”
The current best-selling cupboard essentials include four berry muesli, basmati rice, chocolate raisins and whole porridge oats and this week, M&S has added firm family favourites to Fill Your Own including corn flakes, rice pops and tri-coloured pasta.
Fill Your Own has continued to prove popular amongst customers and despite shifting consumer behaviour during the pandemic, over 40% of the lines are currently outselling the packaged alternatives.
To help customers to shop with confidence, M&S has introduced additional hygiene measures for Fill Your Own including increased cleaning and hand sanitiser, with colleagues on-hand to help customers fill, weigh and pay with ease. Customers can bring in or purchase reusable containers, or alternatively free, recyclable paper bags are on offer for those who wish to use them.
As M&S continues developing its renewal programme, the retailer plans to further expand its Fill Your Own concept as a key feature of the new format stores.
Since 2018, M&S Food has removed over 2,000 tonnes of plastic and has stopped using black plastic as part of its target to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2022.
For more information on M&S’s plastics plan, please visit: https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/sustainability/quick-reads/our-plastics-plan
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Notes to Editors:
More details on M&S’s plastic plan:
- Plastic plays an important role in preserving food, maintaining quality and preventing waste, in addition to protecting the clothes we sell in our stores from getting damaged
- But we know there are challenges with the current use of plastics – at M&S, we want to play our part to help change this. and at present in the UK is being used mainly in a linear way rather than as part of a circular economy.
- At M&S, we want to play our part as a business and take steps to move to a circular economy. Our priority is to reduce our use of plastic and where it’s not possible, support our customers to reuse or recycle.
- We are taking clear action to help our business, our customers and our colleagues to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic
In our business and own operations:
- Our priority is to remove and reduce our use of plastic packaging where it adds no benefit and we’ve phased out over 2,000 tonnes since 2018 – from switching our in-store bakery bags to paper alternatives to removing plastic trays from a number of fruit and veg lines to reducing the plastic on our sandwich packs by 40%.
- Where it’s not possible to reduce or remove plastic, we want to ensure our packaging can be reused or recycled. Our goal is to ensure all our packaging is widely recycled by 2022 and since March 2020, we’ve no longer used any black plastic packaging on our food production lines.
- We’re actively encouraging our customers to reuse through a number of initiatives. We offer a 25p discount for customers who bring in reusable coffee cups to our Cafés and containers for hot food to go at our Market Place counters. Our Fill Your Own concept enables customers to shop refillable cupboard essentials such as pasta, rice and cereals at our Hedge End, Manchester and Staines stores.
- We’ve replaced all our plastic produce and bakery bags with widely recycled paper versions in all our stores, and have phased out single-use 5p carrier bags in favour of stronger, multi-use Bags for Life, which are made from 100% of our own plastic waste.
- We’ve also offered free re-usable tote bags to our 7million sparks customers to help them reuse every time they shop.
- In Clothing & Home, we’ve removed the protective plastic covers from 500,000 of our cashmere jumpers and have started trialling how we can extend this to our Men’s multipack shirts, school uniforms and bedding. We’ve also reused or recycled over one billion plastic hangers since we introduced our hanger reuse scheme 12 years ago
Working with others to fundamentally reform the current UK waste and recycling system
- We’re working hard to play our part at M&S, but we know we can’t find answers to all the challenges we face as an industry alone, so we’re working closely with industry partners and NGOs to create long-term change.
- For example, we work with organisations like WRAP and are signatories of the UK Plastics Pact, as part of which we have committed to ensuring all our packaging is widely recycled by 2022.
- That is why we support the Government’s proposed regulatory changes known as Extended Producer Responsibility, which will fund improved recycling collections and infrastructure across the UK and incentivise businesses to use materials which are easier to recycle so that less waste is produced and exported abroad.
- It’s also why we support the Government’s plans to ensure there is a more consistent and comprehensive approach to local council collections and better recycling infrastructure in the UK so that more plastic and packaging can be recovered and reprocessed domestically.
Helping our customers play their part
- To create long-term change, we need to engage the entire value chain from suppliers right the way through to our customers, who play a vital role at the end-life of all packaging.
- A solution we’re looking at to increase recyclability is our plastic take-back scheme, which we’ve rolled out to 16 of our stores.
- The scheme enables customers to bring back any difficult to recycle plastic such as black plastic, films and foils from any retailer and we’ll turn collected plastic into playground equipment and prevent it from going to landfill. We’ll continue rolling out the scheme to more of our stores.