Asda has admitted that removing packaging and selling loose fresh produce hasn't been an out-and-out success.

A much-trumpeted pilot was launched in Asda's Southport, Merseyside, store last March, then extended to a further four stores during the summer.

At the time, a spokesman said it was popular with consumers and didn't increase wastage, but now Claire Costello, general manager for packaging at Asda, has admitted the trial was only a qualified success.

"Our customers wanted loose produce for convenience but we found that when they had to buy enough for a family of four they didn't like the fact that they had to pick it and put it in the bag themselves," she said.

"Also, there were more waste issues to contend with. Customers were touching and feeling the fruit and there was much more bruising."

Asda will decide in the spring whether it will extend the scheme to further stores.