Source: Aldi

Ditching its existing mince packaging would see the amount of plastic packaging cut by 73%, Aldi said

Aldi has become the latest supermarket to trial plastic-saving vacuum packaging across its beef mince range.

But in a departure from some of its rivals who have already adopted the controversial packaging standard, the discounter will also trial a flow-wrap format.

Switching to the new formats would see the amount of plastic used by the discounter in its mince supply chain cut by 73%, Aldi said. The new packaging also removed the need for a paper lining, while no carbon dioxide was used in production – delivering further environmental benefits without affecting the quality or taste of the product.

It added the move was also expected to increase the shelf life of beef mince by keeping it fresher for longer.

The aim of the trial was to understand which packaging customers preferred, the discounter suggested. It follows a significant backlash from consumers over the move to vacuum-packed mince by other supermarkets earlier this year.

Sainsbury’s switch in February – the first by a major retailer – saw shoppers take to social media to complain about the consistency and texture of vacuum-packed mince, with some likening the product to “mush”. The complaints led the retailer to print information leaflets in-store to explain the reasoning behind its move, and the fact it would save over 450 tonnes of plastic per year.

Aldi’s vacuum packaging trial went live on 25 August across select stores in Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and Worcestershire.

It will run the flow-wrap trial in the same areas in November. Tesco launched a trial of similar ’pillow packs’ for its own-label mince range at the start of August.

”We are constantly reviewing ways to become more environmentally-friendly and reduce plastic where possible,” said Luke Emery, plastics and packaging director at Aldi. 

“These trials promise a range of environmental benefits without affecting quality and could lead to significant reductions in plastic, food miles and food waste if rolled out across all stores,” he added.

In June, Lidl also announced plans to make similar changes at the start of next year to save over 250 tonnes of plastic a year.