Better Food has installed a 41-product packaging-free wall, dispensing cereals, grains, pulses, seeds, nuts and dried fruit, in its largest store in St Werburghs.
This extends the range of packaging-free items available to over 80. The store already offered self-serve products as diverse as eggs, fruit and vegetables, wine, tea, household cleaners, soaps and hair-care products.
‘The main reason for installing this packaging-free wall,’ says Lucy Gatward, Better Food’s Marketing Manager, ‘Is to ensure less packaging ends up in landfill, especially as our customers get into the habit of using their own containers or cotton bags.’
‘If you look back to pictures of our founder Phil Haughton in his first shop on Bristol’s Gloucester Road’ Lucy continues, ‘Most things are in glass jars and paper bags, or just loose. It feels like all this plastic has crept in insidiously over the years. It’s time to reset the dial, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.’
Gatward is keen to point out other benefits. ‘Buying in bulk means we can sell products cheaper and customers only buy what they need, so there’s less waste at home. Selling fewer prepacks positively impacts carbon emissions. It also leaves more room on our shelves for innovative products, more and more of which will be selected because of their environmentally-responsible packaging as well as their organic status.’
Better Food have been pioneers in sustainable retailing and catering for over 25 years, and are award-winning independent retailers of organic and local food, with shops and cafes in three locations in Bristol. They have been focusing on increasing their packaging-free ranges for some time, and have already introduced several new initiatives, such as charity levy on disposable cups, discounts when you bring your own reusables for takeaway drinks and food, and no plastic straws.
While the packaging-free wall is currently only installed in their St Werburghs store, the next big company-wide investment will be to fit similar units in the other two stores. ‘In the meantime,’ continues Lucy, ‘We’re making sure we have as many packaging reduction initiatives in place as possible’.
The units were installed and fitted by Unpackaged, the company behind similar units in London’s Planet Organic. ‘We’ve been working with Unpackaged’s owner, the very knowledgeable Catherine Conway – she’s a true pioneer and her guidance has been invaluable.’ Lucy adds.