Tesco is looking to reduce the plastic used to contain its mince beef but has eschewed the controversial vacuum packs rolled out by some rivals this year.
Tesco is instead trialling new “pillow packs”, which it said used 70% less plastic, on two lines: 500g Tesco beef lean steak mince 5% fat (£3.49) and 500g Tesco beef mince 20% fat (£2.49).
It said the packaging was “the opposite” of the vacuum packs which have been introduced by other retailers including Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Co-op, which have attracted complaints from some customers about the appearance of the products.
The retailer said the slightly inflated pillow keeps the mince in perfect condition and prevents it being compressed.
While the new packs still contain the same amount of mince as the old ones, the packaging is smaller in size, meaning fewer lorries are needed to transport them and stores can fit more on shelves, increasing availability.
Tesco said if customers liked the new pillow packs it would roll them out to more lines. Waitrose has used pillow packs on its mince products for many years.
Sainsbury’s suffered a backlash from consumers when it introduced vacuum-packed mince in February, although Lidl announced it was following suit in June, in a bid to slash plastic and the number of delivery trucks on the road.
“As well as looking for great value when they shop, customers want to see less plastic packaging in their trolleys,” said Tesco commercial director for fresh food Dom Morrey.
“Pillow packs are a win-win: they keep the mince in perfect condition while requiring much less plastic.
“Removing or reducing unnecessary plastic is an important way Tesco can reduce its environmental impact. We’re proud of what we have done so far but continue to look for ways to do more.”