Waitrose: Easter, counters, packaging and more

Date : 15 April 2019

A roundup of five latest news stories from Waitrose & Partners: sustainable packaging innovations, the launch of a new at home spirits sampling service, exporting to international markets, an update on counter performance, and the latest seasonal innovation.

Experimental new packaging solutions

In collaboration with Scottish biotec company CuanTec, Waitrose is working on a new film for food packaging made out of waste langoustine shells. The retailer aims for this to be used as an alternative to plastic film on some of its fish products in the next 12-18 months. The plastic film cannot currently be recycled, reused or composted. Therefore finding new solutions will be vital in helping Waitrose reach its ambition of ensuring all own label packaging can be disposed of in these ways by 2023.

Waitrose was introduced to CuanTec as part of its JLAB retail innovation programme.

At home gin tasting experience

In May Waitrose will launch a new gin tasting experience: "Gin O'Clock". This is an extension of its Wine tasting at Home service. The two hour experience includes five types of gin paired with Fever-Tree tonics. It can be hosted at home or in a hired room or event space, and is led by a Waitrose & Partner specialist. The cost is £400 for 6-10 people.

Waitrose is increasing utilising its Partners' expertise to offer personalised advice to shoppers. This includes hosting events at its Cookery Schools and offering advice on healthier choices to shoppers in its stores.

Double digit counter growth 

In its weekly trading update on 9th April, Waitrose highlighted double digit sales on its meat counters, up over 20% YoY for that week.

Earlier this year the retailer introduced signs to encourage its shoppers to bring reusable containers to purchase products from its counters.

Waitrose also continues to introduce innovative new products to its counter ranges, including Hot Cross Bun flavoured Wensleydale cheese in time for Easter.

New agreement to export to Kuwait

Waitrose & Partners will directly supply City Centre hypermarkets in Kuwait. Almost 100 products from its essentials, Duchy Original, Waitrose & Partners Free From, and Waitrose 1 own brand ranges will be included. The supply will be direct to the retailer, rather than through a distributor.

Easter innovation

Waitrose has unveiled an innovative selection of own brand Easter eggs:

  • Its  long-standing collaboration with experimental chef Heston Blumenthal includes a chocolate scotch egg, and chocolate teapot complete with chocolate "sugar cubes" and "tealeaves"
  • Premium range Waitrose 1 offers a choice of diamond shaped, shimmering eggs
  • Last year's popular avocado chocolate egg, the best selling in Waitrose's history, is also available in baby avocado size this year

Coinciding with Fairtrade Fortnight, Waitrose announced a new commitment that 100% of cocoa in its own brand confectionery would be Fairtrade.

Retail Analysis subscribers can read about the latest Easter trends in our upcoming report.