Waitrose launches packaging-free test in Oxford supermarket

The grocery giant is trialling a refillable zone, frozen ‘pick and mix’ and a borrow-a-box scheme alongside traditionally-packaged products to see what consumers prefer

The Big Zero report

Waitrose & Partners has launched a packaging-free product test in one of its Oxford stores.

The grocery giant is trialling a refillable zone, frozen ‘pick and mix’ and a borrow-a-box scheme alongside traditionally-packaged products, with the aim of seeing what model consumers prefer.

It predicts the test, which is designed to help determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future, has the potential to save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging.

It is taking place at the Botley Road shop in Oxford, where Waitrose has taken hundreds of products out of their packaging, removed plastic wrap from its flowers and launched refillable options for products such as wine, beer, cereals, coffees and even cleaning products.

The brand claims the store has the largest number of loose fruit and vegetable lines of any national supermarket.

The test will run for a period of 11 weeks until the 18th of August, with packaged equivalents of the products remaining in their usual aisles as a control for the test.

Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris, said: “This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for.

“We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”

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