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Marks & Spencer Launches Recyclable Tomato Packaging

British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is announcing a further move to make its grocery products more sustainable with the introduction of new widely recyclable packaging for its private brand British Collection vine tomatoes.

The new packaging replaces a hard-to-recycle plastic sleeve with recyclable cardboard and a small amount of plastic film, just enough to preserve the freshness of the tomatoes and still enable the pack to be recycled as cardboard in a household recycling bin.

Three on-the-vine tomato varieties, Piccolo, Pomodolci, and Capella will be available in the new packaging, available across all M&S stores and via Ocado as of now. 

Developed with Leicester-based The Reflex Packaging Group and inspired by traditional sandwich packaging, the innovative design is part of M&S’ commitment for all food packaging to be widely recyclable by 2025.

The retailer has also pledged to remove 1 bn units of plastic food packaging by 2027. The new tomato packaging design has 95% less plastic, estimated to remove 8m units by the end of the year.

The new design features in M&S’ Fresh Market Update campaign showcasing how one of the retailer’s British Select Farmers delivers its popular sweet rosso tomatoes. 

Last year, M&S also introduced widely recyclable packaging for its Mandagold tangerines, removing approximately 748,000 pieces of plastic, with more citrus lines, including Blood Oranges, available in the earth packaging later this year.

Andrew Clappen, Technical Director at M&S Food, said:“At M&S we know our customers are deeply concerned about the environment and rightly expect us to make our products as sustainable as possible. That’s why we’re exploring recyclable packaging alternatives for our products, which also help us to meet our plastic reduction targets.
“We want our customers to shop with confidence knowing that the trusted value M&S is famous for means not only delicious, great value and quality produce but a more sustainable choice.”

M&S’ latest Family Matters Index revealed 64% of UK families are concerned about the environment and 56% are making an effort to educate themselves about their own environmental impact. A vast majority (88%) agree supermarkets should use recyclable packaging where possible and 37% are already changing the food they buy due to climate change.

While the new packaging is fully recyclable at home, to make it easier for customers to recycle soft plastics, M&S has rolled out recycling take back units in over 500 UK stores, with customers able to drop off items not typically collected by Local Authorities, such as yogurt lids and sweet wrappers including those not bought at M&S.

M&S recently reset its sustainability program Plan A, to have an unrelenting focus on becoming a net zero Scope 3 business across its supply chain and products by 2040 and to support customers to make more sustainable choices.

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By Published On: July 26th, 2022Tags:

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About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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