Morrisons paper packaging

Backing paper bags

Sir, Soil Association broadly supports Morrisons’ move to replace plastic grocery bags with paper bags, as long as their paper comes from FSC-certified sustainable timber sources.

Criticism of Morrisons fails to account for the true cost of plastic pollution to human health and the environment. Plastic is designed to last. And yet, 50% of all plastics are single-use. Where is the logic? Our oceans are at breaking point yet they provide the majority of the oxygen we breathe. Even ‘degradable’ plastic often just fragments in to micro pollution.

Paper is compostable. Sustainable paper-based packaging would mitigate the persistence and toxicity of plastic pollution, while forests provide carbon sinks and safeguard biodiversity. ‘Bioplastics’, however, usually come from crops grown using pesticide-heavy unsustainable farming practices. Our own research also found a strong consumer preference for paper-based packaging.

Tackling plastic pollution is a complex, systemic global problem. Undoubtedly, everyone must use much less packaging in the first place. But, where we do need it, Soil Association advocates for more plant-based, compostable packaging solutions made from non-GM crops and FSC-certified paper and card.

Daisy Blackhurst, standards impact manager, Soil Association

Loyalty must get mobile

Sir, Developments in mobile-first payment trials for grocery in the UK should come as great news for consumers (‘Tesco pilots cashless model in small stores’) in terms of developing more convenient, flexible and relevant ways for people to shop. We stand at the cusp of exciting developments which have the potential to transform the in-store experience forever

It is essential that these remarkable differences don’t simply relate to in-store, however, but also extend across the full range of supermarket customer touchpoints. Loyalty is begging for a fresh approach, both in terms of relevance and the offers being truly tailored to people, but also when it comes to flexible offer access. With mobile-first schemes already being tested in some areas, it is equally important that the important role loyalty programmes play in the lives of regular customers is respected and factored into this evolution. Not only do stores hungry for innovation have to make sure their full experience is consistent, but they also have to ensure those all-important daily bonds with customer bases are respected and rewarded

Matt Broekhuizen, founder, Table 19

We don’t all like football!

Sir, Do stores such as Aldi, Lidl and Iceland have no concern for their customers, deciding on a whim to close early had England reached the World Cup final?

They seem to think everyone is interested in football. It may come as a surprise to them that many of us couldn’t care less about it. TV viewing figures point to some 20 million people watching the last England game. That’s less than a third of the UK population and way below half the population of England, indicating that the rest of us had better things to do with our time.

Giles Hurley, of Aldi, claims “everybody is getting behind the England team… including our customers and colleagues”. No Mr Hurley, we’re not. What I find especially curious is that my local Aldi employs a large number of eastern European staff. Are they really all England fans of England?

If this early closure had gone ahead and someone who wanted to do their shopping was unaware of this decision, how do you think they would have reacted if they had arrived at a store to find it shut? What if they had travelled a long way? What if this was the only time they could have gone shopping? It was an extraordinarily arrogant decision by these companies and they’ve gone down considerably in my estimation as a consequence.

Lynne Hutchinson