Asda links up with leading brands to launch trial sustainability store

Nick Gladding
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 16 January 2020

Asda has joined forces with some of the UK leading brand owners to launch its first ‘test and learn’ sustainability store with a mission to find new ways to reduce plastic and encourage customers to reuse and refill.

Three month refill station trial

From May, Asda's Middleton superstore in Leeds will become the retailer's first location to offer refill stations for dispensing loose products. During the trial, customers will be able to bring in their own containers and fill them with a variety of products. These will include Kellogg’s cereals such as Coco Pops and Rice Krispies, Unilever’s PG Tips tea. and Asda's own brand rice, coffee and pasta. Customers shopping at the store will be asked to give their feedback on the different trials – allowing Asda and its suppliers to understand more about how these ideas work in practice. Trials will last for at least three months before a decision is made on whether to roll out the initiative.

Other plastic free products available

In addition to the refill stations, the store will include a ‘naked florist’ offering plastic-free flowers and loose produce with items such as cucumbers and mushrooms being taken out of their plastic packaging. There will also be a range of new recycling facilities, including a reverse vending machine for plastic bottles and cans, hanger recycling and a deposit box for unwanted small plastic toys.

Plastics reduction commitments

The move is part of Asda’s commitments to reduce the amount of plastic it uses. Having removed 8,000 tonnes from its own brand packaging since 2018, Asda recently brought forward commitments to make almost a third of plastic packaging from recycled sources by the end of 2020, and reduce plastic by 15% by February 2021. It will also make all packaging – of whatever material – 100% recyclable by 2025.

Supplier involvement key to trial

Commenting on the trial Asda CEO Roger Burnley said: “It’s a journey we can’t go on alone, which is why we invited our suppliers to innovate with us and I’m delighted that household names like Kellogg’s and Unilever have joined us in testing new ideas and approaches to sustainability at our Middleton store. Over the coming weeks and months we will be testing and learning from the customers in Middleton to understand how we can reduce our environmental impacts whilst still maintaining the great service and quality our customers demand." 

More insight for Retail Analysis subscribers: