Foodstuffs to allow customers to bring own containers

Supermarket chain Foodstuffs will soon allow customers to bring their own containers to use for seafood, over-the-counter butchery, delicatessen and bakery items in an effort to eliminate waste.

The BYOC (bring your own container) policy will be made available at Foodstuffs supermarkets and Foodstuffs-affiliated stores, including New World, Pak n Save and Four Square North Island stores.

The policy will kick off on June 1 but will be launched in New World Long Bay a bit earlier, as its new store opens on May 28 in Auckland.

Mark Casey, group manager of regulatory services at Foodstuffs North Island, said the company ran successful trials at several stores where it worked out what rules need to be followed.

“Food safety is a top priority, so making sure our customers’ groceries aren’t compromised through poor hygiene is very important,” Casey said.

According to Foodstuffs, the service is only available at counter departments so that stores can check containers and make sure they are fit for purpose and clean, and that the weight of the container can be subtracted from the weight of the product being purchased.

“Many people don’t realise that products must be sold minus the cost packaging might add to a product,” Casey said. “That’s why we restrict BYO to counters where we can subtract the weight of the container and produce a price label for the cost of the product only.”

This means that products from bulk bins, for now, won’t be included.

“We have to make quite significant changes to the way we operate to take the BYO option storewide, but this new policy in our counter areas is a major step towards zero waste.”

The supermarket chain said encouraging customers to reuse containers is just one of the many initiatives it has underway to help reduce New Zealanders’ environmental footprint.

“We’ve given away millions of reusable shopping bags, we encourage customers to bring reusable produce bags, we’re trialling home compostable produce bags and now we’re inviting people to bring their own containers. It all adds up to reducing packaging waste,” said Mike Sammons, head of sustainability at Foodstuffs.

Sammons said reusable bags and boxes may soon be in the works after the company’s previous initiatives to cut out plastic in-store, such as its ‘food in the nude’ campaign in produce, a new and exclusive eco-store refillery in its New World Durham Street in Christchurch and the use of new products for wrapping pallets.


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