Source: Tesco

There have been question marks over the appetite in the industry for a full-scale rollout

Tesco has quietly wound up its reusable packaging trial with eco company Loop, after admitting such initiatives will require a major consumer mind-shift before they can be rolled out at scale.

The supermarket launched its Loop trial in 10 stores in September last year, with refillable aisles featuring 88 branded and own-label products in reusable and durable packaging.

At the time it said the scheme would be rolled out more widely if a success, predicting the tie-up, involving a range of brands including Coca-Cola, Heinz, Persil and Tetley, would have an “enormous” impact on plastic use.

UK Loop - Danone (1)

Source: Loop

The trial involved a range of brands including Coca-Cola, Heinz, Danone and more

However, with inflation and the cost of living crisis piling pressure on suppliers and retailers, there have been question marks over the appetite in the industry for a full-scale rollout, with the recyclable products used in the trial more expensive to produce. Consumers using the dedicated Loop aisle have had to pay deposits on packaging of between 20p and £1.

“Still much more to do”

Tesco has now canned its trial, which had been due to launch in March 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic. It ran for a year online and nine months in store. The supermarket said 80,000 products had been purchased during that time.

“We are very appreciative of those customers who engaged in it with us,” said Tesco responsible sourcing director Giles Bolton. “What’s clear from our trial is that a prefill model of reuse has strong potential and can be set up to offer customers the ease and convenience they expect.”

“There’s still much more to do. Specifically, work is needed to encourage a cultural and behavioural shift from customers. Reuse represents a radical change in the shopping experience and while customers support the environmental principle, industry, policymakers and supply chains will need to work hard and work collectively to support and incentivise customers to adopt new shopping behaviours, while ensuring they don’t come at a cost to shoppers.”