Foodstuffs gets with the packaging programme

Foodstuffs has signalled major changes to the way it procures packaging, telling store owners to stop selling veggies on meat trays and looking to eventually achieve 100 percent kerbside recyclable packaging for both produce and private label items.

Sustainability manager Mike Sammons said Foodstuffs has been working on improving its packaging footprint since 2010, and will also be trialling alternative, more sustainable packaging materials and applying Life Cycle Assessment to all packaging procurement decisions.

“As a socially and environmentally responsible retailer we are keen not to pass a burden onto our customers and that means supplying our products in packaging that has a reduced environmental footprint and can be recycled by our customers at their kerbside. We acknowledge the issues with polystyrene packaging and are focused on restricting its use in the short term and ultimately moving to an alternative more sustainable packaging material,” said Sammons.

Foodstuffs won the 2012 Unpackit Worst Packaging Award for its practice of putting fruit and vegetables on polystyrene meat trays and wrapping them in plastic.

Unpackit organiser Gina Dempster said the changes added up to a big step forward for the New Zealand supermarket co-operative, which includes the New World, Pak ‘n Save and Four Square brands.

“The Unpackit Awards are decided by public vote, and the message was given loudly and clearly to Foodstuffs when they won the Worst Packaging Award in 2012 that some of their packaging was frustrating customers. It’s to their credit that instead of getting defensive and hunkering down to protect the status quo, Foodstuffs have taken action to improve their packaging.”

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