Tesco trials new recyclable packaging with 70% less plastic for its fresh mince product

UK – British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer, Tesco has introduced ‘pillow packs’ for fresh mince, replacing the traditional tray/top wrap pack.

The packaging, which uses 70% less plastic, is being trialed for the 500g Tesco Beef Lean Steak Mince 5% fat (£3.49) and Tesco Beef Mince 500g 20% fat (£2.49), the company said in a statement.

The trials are only in a handful of stores in the country and Tesco says if customers like the new packaging, then it will roll it out to more lines across more stores.

Dom Morrey, Tesco’s commercial director for Fresh, said: “As well as looking for great value when they shop, customers want to see less plastic packaging in their trolleys.

“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 that 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.”

Tesco said the packs contain the same amount of minced meat as the old ones, however, the packaging is smaller in size meaning few lorries are needed to transport them. It also means Tesco stores can fit more on their shelves – increasing its availability in stores.

The new pillow packs are also completely recyclable and customers can get rid of them by putting them into the soft plastics recycling units located at the front of Tesco’s stores.

Tesco’s 4Rs packaging strategy aims to remove plastic where it can, reduce where it can’t, reuse more and recycle what’s left.

So far, the retailer has removed around 2.2 billion pieces of plastic from its UK business, including more than 200 million bags from Tesco.com deliveries and 100 million extra lids from products such as wipes, creams, yoghurts and desserts.

Tesco has given its suppliers a list of preferred materials that are easier to recycle and stated that it reserves the right to no longer stock products in excessive packaging or hard-to-recycle materials.

The move follows similar moves made by Sainsbury’s and Coop recently, who introduced “vacuum packs” for their mince meat in a bid to reduce its plastic waste.

Sainsbury’s was the first chain to introduce vacuum packaging for the meat product in March to all its 1,400 stores in a bid to reduce its plastic waste, however, the supermarket chain faced a lot of backlash.

Customers said the packaging change made the meat turn to “mush” and one customer on social media described it as being the “nearest thing to baby food”.

Nisa and Coop also later introduced vacuum packaging as one of their plastic waste-reducing tactics.

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