Marks & Spencer to extend refillable groceries trial to second store
Marks & Spencer is extending its Fill your Own refillable groceries trial to a second store.
The retailer launched the pilot in mid-December at its Hedge End Retail Park store in Southampton. The shop offers over 44 lines of packaging-free products including cereals, pasta, rice, lentils, confectionery, coffee, dried fruits and nuts.
M&S is now planning to extend the scheme to a second store in Manchester city centre this month as it looks to test the refill concept across different formats and locations.
The move follows new research by M&S which found that over 75% of consumers are consciously trying to reduce their use of plastic packaging and that one in four shoppers are actively seeking out retailers who offer a refillable groceries service.
The study also found that shoppers feel the main barrier to shopping refill and unpackaged groceries is the challenge of finding retailers that offer the service. Other issues include the need to carry containers and the perception that unpackaged items seem more expensive than packaged ones.
M&S said its Fill Your Own trial aims to address some of these challenges, with all products being cheaper per gram than the packaged alternatives. The retailer is also providing free, widely recyclable paper bags for customers to use if they do not have container with them.
However, the retailer said customers are increasingly using their own containers or purchasing one from its own range. Sales of M&S reusable storage containers have increased by 38% at the Hedge End store since the trial launched and by 10% across all M&S stores compared to last year.
M&S said 25 out of the 44 Fill Your Own products at the Hedge End store are now selling higher volumes than the packaged alternatives, with customers buying over 2,600kg of product to date. The bestselling products include M&S’s Triple Chocolate Crunch cereal, Whole Scottish Porridge Oats, Basmati Rice, Milk Chocolate Raisins, Single Origin Brazil Coffee and Fiorelli Pasta.
Paul Willgoss, director of food technology at M&S, said: “Our Fill Your Own concept is one area we’re focusing on as part of our action to reduce plastic packaging and support our customers to reuse and recycle. As a completely new way of shopping, we’re keen to better understand refill across the entire store process from behind the scenes operations to working together with our customers to encourage behaviour change.”
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