Waitrose UnpackedIMG_8168

Source: The Grocer

The supermarket aims to save thousands of tonnes of necessary plastic by expanding the trial

Waitrose is to extend its trial of selling products without packaging because of an “incredible” reaction to its Botley Road, Oxfordshire pilot.

It will extend the test to three other stores this year, beginning with Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in September, and Abingdon and Wallingford, both in Oxfordshire, in November.

A spokesman said: “I’m sure we’ll look at where we are and look at another phase of rolling it out” in the new year.

Its Unpacked Botley Road test was scheduled to end after 11 weeks on 18 August but it will now continue.

The trial has seen Waitrose take more than 200 products out of their packaging to test how customers might be prepared to shop differently.

Its aim is to save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic.

The new stores in the trial will have a dedicated refillable zone, including dispensers for dried products, frozen pick and mix, coffee, wine and beer refills, as well as Ecover detergent and washing-up liquid refillables.

The business aims to extend the refillable range of products available at the three shops following customer feedback, but has not finalised plans at this stage.

It said there would still be a wide range of Unpacked fruit and veg, although it would need to change to reflect the season and where the produce came from.

Waitrose UnpackedIMG_8222

Source: The Grocer

More than 200 products have been taken out of their packaging

Waitrose said the Botley Road trial was already helping the supermarket to understand what worked for its customers.

It said the Veg Kitchen where staff prepared loose vegetables, such as spiralised, seasoned or chopped, to discourage customers buying prepared veg in plastic packs was not as popular as some of the other concepts.

Shoppers also preferred to bring their own containers rather than ‘borrow a box’.

Both concepts would be removed from Botley Road by the end of August and would not feature in the three other shops.

Waitrose said more than 7,000 customers had provided feedback on the trial to date through in-store “feedback walls”, customer interviews, its dedicated website page and social media using the Waitrose Unpacked hashtag.

Tor Harris, head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, said the reaction to Waitrose Unpacked had been “incredible” with the invaluable feedback from thousands of customers giving it the confidence that they were prepared to change how they shop with the supermarket.

“We are keen to take the Unpacked concept forward and these additional tests will help us achieve this as well as understand its commercial viability,” he said.

“Through working with our customers and suppliers we will continue to learn and develop ideas which have the potential to be rolled out more widely.”