Sustainable Packaging in the Supply Chain
We all know that large supermarkets have considerable power. The decisions they make determine what food and products we have access to, and at what prices. For many farmers and factories, being on the supermarket’s supply chain is what keeps them in business.
Changing consumer behaviour and global awareness of environmental impact is having a strong influence on supermarket choices. In order to remain competitive, the supermarkets have had to shift their thinking and priorities in favour of ‘greener’ policies.
As they change, the expectation is that their suppliers will also adapt. Those who embrace sustainably sourced ingredients and plastic-free, recyclable packaging will be favoured over those who don’t.
Plastic-free Packaging Pledge
Iceland was the first supermarket to step forward and commit to cutting plastic packaging. No timid forecast, their aim was to take immediate action. They pledged to have a plastic-free own-brand retail packaging by 2030. The company began removing plastic waste from their own brand products immediately, building public awareness with a social media campaign titled: #TooCoolforPlastic.
#TooCoolforPlastic has been recognised in the CIPR Excellence Awards 2020. Iceland was announced the winner of the Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign category.
Sustainable Packaging for Fresh Produce
Continuing in this vein, Iceland is now trialling a 93% reduction in the use of plastic packaging for fresh produce. In some cases, alternative packaging materials, such as corrugated cardboard or paper bags will be used. In other cases, the fresh produce will be sold loose. The initial trial will take place in 33 stores to monitor if there is any impact on quality and presentation, as well as consumer spending.
This is a big move, but it is low risk. There is considerable evidence to show that corrugated cardboard packaging helps to protect produce and keeps it fresher for longer.
Growing Pressure for Sustainable Packaging in the Supply Chain
In order to successfully meet its pledge to reduce plastic packaging, the management team have worked in collaboration with their employees, suppliers and third-party organisations.
They have also had to consider their supply chain. Which brands share their values and are actively using sustainable packaging? Brands who fail to adapt to consumer demands for sustainable packaging could find that they fall out of favour with the supermarket.
One of the aims of the #TooCoolforPlastic campaign was to lead the way and encourage other supermarkets to follow suit. Waitrose, Coop and Morrisons were all quick to introduce measures to actively remove, reduce or replace plastic packaging.
Tescos has now announced that they are removing plastic wraps from their own-brand multi packs. Starting with grocery products, such as tinned tomatoes and beans, their first trial is taking place in Sussex. If rolled out nationally, it is estimated that Tesco’s removal of multi-pack plastic could prevent 350 tonnes of non-biodegradable waste a year.
The supermarket has focused on its grocery range, but it is also putting pressure on leading brands to switch to sustainable packaging alternatives. Again, those who are unwilling to switch may find that they are removed from the supply chain.
Stay Relevant with Sustainable Packaging
If your brand is at risk from being removed from the supermarket’s supply chain, speak to Aylesbury Box Company on 01296 436888. As specialist manufacturers of sustainable cardboard packaging, we can advise on alternatives to plastic packaging and fillers.
With expertise in cardboard engineering, we can design and print bespoke packaging. Our bespoke boxes can also support packing speed and efficiency, which can help to cut costs. Is it time to ensure your goods remain a popular choice with retailers and consumers?