Waitrose to expand sustainable Unpacked trial

// Waitrose extends Unpacked concept to three extra stores
// Oxford’s Unpacked trial will roll on past initial deadline due to positive customer feedback
// Waitrose says customers “are prepared to change how they shop with us”

Upmarket grocer Waitrose has announced it is extending its Unpacked trail to new stores after an “incredible” reaction initial from customers.

Waitrose today announced more customers will be able to do their grocery shopping in refillable containers as it extends its Unpacked trial from its Oxford store on Botley Road out to three more shops in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire from September.

The initial trial saw Waitrose remove packaging from more than 200 products to allow customers to fill their own reusable packaging.

The trial at its Botley Road store will now run beyond its August 18 closing date.

All three stores added to the trial will have a dedicated refillable zone with more products on offer, including dispensers for dried and frozen goods, coffee, beer and laundry detergents.

A wide range of unpackaged fruit and vegetables will also be available.

Like the original Oxford pilot, the stores will be branded under the banner ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ in a bid to boost shopper awareness of the scheme.

So far more than 7,000 customers have commented on the trial through Waitrose’s in-store feedback walls, website and social media.

The feedback has additionally enabled Waitrose to refine the concept ahead of the wider roll-out, and the borrow-a-box concept will be scrapped due to low uptake rates, alongside the Veg Kitchen concept, where staff prepare loose veg to discourage shoppers from buying pre-prepared vegetables.

“The reaction to Waitrose Unpacked has been incredible with the invaluable feedback from thousands of customers giving us the confidence that they are prepared to change how they shop with us,” said Waitrose head of CSR Tor Harris.

“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. 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,” added Harris.

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  1. It’s absolutely fantastic that a large retailer is prepared to step out in faith and show just what is achievable. Sadly, they have closed my local store and will close the next nearest in November so adding 20 miles of fuel consumption to my shopping more than wipes out any environmental savings I would make on reduced packaging.


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