Foodstuffs is removing single-use plastic produce bags across its New World, Pak’nSave, and Four Square supermarkets ahead of Plastic Free July.
The company said the decision builds on other key sustainability initiatives such as Food in the Nude, the removal of plastic checkout bags and microbeads, and the bring-your-own container program.
“We were one of the first retailers in New Zealand to sign up to the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration,” said Steve Anderson, CEO of Foodstuffs South Island. “With the government proposing a ban on single-use plastic produce bags by 2023, it makes sense to supercharge our journey towards removal now.”
The removal of single-use produce bags is also a part of Foodstuffs’ 2025 Plastic Packaging commitments.
Customers will see a range of trial products hitting the shop floor as part of the move including multi-use bags, nylon mesh bags, polyester mesh bags, organic cotton reusable bags and collapsible crates.
“This change means we can avoid using paper or other solutions, which – while better in the short-term than plastic – still have a significant impact on the environment and are not where we want to end up in the long-term,” says Anderson.
New World, Pak’nSave and Four Square started phasing out single-use plastic checkout bags in 2019. The company said customer behaviour in-store shows that it is now second nature for customers to shop with reusable bags.
“New World and Pak’nSave customer research showed that 30 per cent of our customers are already reusing bags for produce and 66 per cent are expecting to go reusable in produce soon,” Anderson added. “We feel shoppers are ready to embrace this change.”