Tesco launches plastic-free fresh produce trial

Date : 28 March 2019

We look in more detail at how Tesco is trialling removing plastic packaging in some of its fruit and vegetables.

Plastic-free for 45 products

In an effort to reduce plastic waste Tesco has launched a month-long trial to remove plastic packaging on a selection of its fruit and vegetables. The trial will take place in its Watford and Swindon stores. The plastic packaging will be removed from 45 products where loose alternatives are available.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Tesco announced in 2018 that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019, ensure all paper and board used is 100% sustainable by 2025 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025. This is all part of its ambition to get to a closed loop packaging system and achieve zero waste. To do this Tesco also wants to improve recovery and recycling, working with the government on a national recycling infrastructure. Alongside this is will be working to raise awareness in order to change shopper behaviour.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Speaking at the IGD 2018 Tesco Business Update Jason Tarry, chief product officer said;

"To complete the journey to a closed loop approach, we stand ready to work with government to reform the current approach to recycling in the UK."
Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


The movement towards plastic-free is positive in many ways, not just that it is good for the environment. As shoppers become more conscious of the impact retailers are having, taking action to show responsibility in this area is becoming more important for maintaining a positive image. It also looks good in store and is convenient for shoppers as they can buy the exact quantity they want. However, there is a risk of damage to products and potential for it to create a messy environment. Tesco will need to manage the stock effectively to ensure no significant damage to products, and that there is none left over that shoppers will not buy.

Other retailers action on plastics

Retailers are continuing to reduce their plastic usage. Aldi is currently trialling going plastic-free on five fruit and vegetable lines in Scotland. It has also announced it will be removing plastic glitter from 100% of its private label products by 2021. Waitrose has also committed to being plastic glitter free by Christmas 2020.

Read more about how other retailers such as Iceland, M&S, Morrison's and more are taking action on plastics.

IGD Tesco Business Update 2019

8 May, London

Dave Lewis and his leadership team invite you to a crucial supplier event to help you stay close to Tesco’s strategic vision in its centenary year.

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