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NZ consumer lobby shames FMCG brands over plastic waste

(Source: Bigstock)

Kiwi shoppers are unhappy with the excessive levels of plastic waste on grocery products, according to advocacy group Consumer New Zealand.

Of the top five offenders is a Watties 3-pack of mini cans of baked beans that attracted the most complaints.

Needless plastic wrapping, says Consumer.

Despite being cheaper than buying three separate cans, the plastic shrink-wrap around the cans was not appreciated by customers leading some to boycott the brand.

Another offender cited was a multipack of electric toothbrush replacement heads from Oral B, which also drew complaints. Customers experienced difficulty opening the outer box and each head inside was individually wrapped. 

Verkerks salami protein snack pack had six individually-wrapped tear seal packets. Each had three small pieces of salami in it. Fresh meat on pre-packed plastic trays and plastic vacuum sealed Pure’n Ezy removed corn’s natural packaging also drew a lot of criticism. 

Consumer NZ advocates that businesses should opt for simpler packaging which is environmentally friendly.

“Customers are getting increasingly frustrated with all the extra packaging,” said Consumer NZ head of content Caitlin Cherry. “Why do you need plastic-covered vegetables? No one understands the logic.”

Research cited by the organisation found that 57 per cent of packaging of New Zealand groceries is not recyclable.

Established in 1959, Consumer New Zealand describes itself as an independent, non-profit organisation “dedicated to getting New Zealanders a fairer deal”. In effect, it is the New Zealand version of Australia’s Choice.

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