Tesco claims a “ground-breaking” change in its cheese packaging will enable it to remove 260 tonnes of plastic every year.
The supermarket is switching from a traditional square block shape to oblong packaging and also removing resealable zips from a raft of its products.
It will also replace 460g packs with new 400g pack sizes as part of a move which will see almost 40 lines of Tesco’s own-brand territorial hard cheeses reformatted.
Tesco is also ditching the plastic trays in which the cheeses are delivered and they will now be sent in a new cardboard shelf-ready format.
The supermarket said the move, which is being rolled out in all stores, could save as much as 11 tonnes of plastic in just the two weeks before Christmas.
Lines included in the repackaging move include Tesco Extra Mature Cheddar 400g, Tesco Red Leicester 400g, Tesco Double Gloucester 400g, Tesco 50% Reduced Fat Mature Cheese 220g and Tesco Welsh Mild Cheddar 220g.
Also included will be eight of Tesco’s Creamfields 400g own-brand cheddar cheeses.
Tesco’s announcement is an increase on the 95 tonnes it estimated would be removed from its own label cheese supply chain in September, when its cheese supplier Ornua similarly revamped the shape of Pilgrims Choice with its Megablock.
“This is a revolutionary move for the UK cheese industry because the iconic square-shaped cheese packs have been around for decades,” said Tesco cheese buying manager Peter Wood.
“By changing the pack shape and also removing the resealable zip we will be able to reduce plastic packaging on our brand hard cheeses by up to 41% against the former product, depending on the size of the block.
“Another benefit to customers is that these new chunkier pack sizes are easier to handle so cutting, grating and slicing will be simpler.”