Asda has opened its first “sustainable” trial store and launched a plastics reduction strategy with a promise that customers will not pay more for “greener” products.
The retailer says it will use the store to test and learn which elements of its new offer appeal to shoppers and can be developed at scale to be potentially rolled out to more stores in 2021.
The store in Middleton, Leeds, is “designed to help shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease” and Asda estimates the initiatives being trialed there will save a million pieces of plastic a year.
To encourage customers to shop sustainably, it has also launched “greener at Asda price”- a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.
The new retail format, which opened for business yesterday (20 October), includes 15 huge refill stations offering a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable formats.
Products include a selection of Kellogg’s cereals, PG Tips tea bags, Quaker Oats, Lavazza and Taylors of Harrogate coffee beans, Vimto and Asda own-label rice and pasta.
The refill zone includes popular brands of shampoo, conditioner, Persil laundry detergent, hand wash and shower gel from Unilever sold in refillable formats – which is claimed to be a retail first.
Roger Burnley, chief executive and president of Asda, said: “This is an issue that matters greatly to our customers: our insight tells us that more than 80% believe that supermarkets have a responsibility to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in stores.
“We want to give them the opportunity to live more sustainably by offering them great product choices and value, underpinned by a promise that they won’t pay more for greener options at Asda.
“We have always known that we couldn’t go on this journey alone, so it is fantastic to work in tandem with more than 20 of our partners and suppliers, who have answered the call to test innovative, sustainable solutions with us.”
The store also houses Asda’s first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles. It also offers 53 fresh produce lines sold in loose and unwrapped formats including 29 new items such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, apples and cabbages.
Several Heinz and Asda canned multipacks, including beans and soups, are available without their usual outer plastic wrapping.
There are also recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, plastic toys and cosmetic containers.
The store also houses a community zone for pop-ups and partnerships with charities – the first being a three-month trial with the Salvation Army for customers to donate unwanted items.