Aldi is to trial the sale
of five different brassica products in Scotland without plastic over the next
six weeks as part of its commitment to reduce packaging and plastic waste.
The retail has pledged to
reduce all packaging by half by 20125, compared to the level used in 2015, and
for 100 per cent of its own label packaging to be recyclable, reusable or
compostable by 2022 (where it does not have a detrimental effect on product
quality or safety, or increase food waste). It has also replaced black trays on
four fresh produce lines with clear alternatives which are easier to recycle.
The trial will see
cauliflowers and four types of cabbage; pointed, red, Savoy and white, sold
without plastic wrapping. If successful and rolled out across the UK, the
retailer says the move would take a further 110 tonnes of plastic out of the
Fritz Walleczek, Aldi UK
Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility, commented, “We’re working hard
to reduce plastic, but we also need to ensure that reducing packaging doesn’t
lead to unnecessary food waste. We’re hoping the outcome of this trial will be positive,
and something that we can roll out across the rest of the UK.”
Over the last year the
retailer claims to have replaced more than 2,500 tonnes of plastic with
recyclable alternatives across its supply base.
The latest information release by Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks to 25 February 2018 shows that grocery sales in the UK have increased in value by 3.2 per cent compared to the same time last year. This is the 12th consecutive period that total market sales growth has exceeded 3 per cent, and that each of the big four retailers has seen positive growth.
Tesco and Morrisons both recorded sales growth of 2.7 per cent – the fastest rate amongst the big four. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, said, “Tesco continues to perform well – more positive news following approval of its Booker acquisition last week. Despite a slight fall in market share of 0.1 percentage points, Tesco experienced particularly strong growth from its Extra superstores. The varied selection of groceries on offer at these larger stores has encouraged customers to return to fuller trolley shops, with average baskets worth £31.09 – currently, the highest value in the bricks and mortar market.
“Holding market share steady year on year at 10.6%, Morrisons has continued its run of form, entering its 16th consecutive period of growth. Its premium own-label line The Best proved particularly successful, with sales rising by 20% year on year as cooked meats, vegetables and cakes and pastries tickled shoppers’ fancy.”
Aldi and Lidl once again battled to be crowned the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket. Aldi pipped Lidl to the post this month as sales grew by 13.9% and 13.3% respectively. With both discounters working hard to expand their store portfolio, Aldi and Lidl also benefited from increased shopper numbers as well as growth in basket size.
A new state-of-the-art 1.5 hectare greenhouse complex in Evesham is helping retailer Waitrose to stock British salad leaves all year round.
The new glass, which has been developed by Wingland Foods uses efficient LED lighting, heating and watering, reducing the environmental impact. It takes 35-40 days to grow the salad in these conditions compared to up to 16 weeks in the field so the yield is almost three times higher over the course of a 12 month period.
The first salad to be produced is Waitrose’s British Chard & Salad Leaves bag, making the supermarket the first supermarket of the year to introduce a UK grown salad bag, available three months earlier than the usual May-October season.
Nicola Waller, Waitrose Head of Fresh Produce, said, “This launch is a result of our long term planning and it’s great to see the first of our British salad bags hitting the shelves so early in the season. Developing this innovative new way of growing salad leaves means that we can source from the UK all year round, going even further in our commitment to British farming.”
The salads are also grown to LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) Marque Standards.
According to press reports, shoppers across the UK are annoyed by the smaller size of cauliflower and broccoli heads and have been complaining to retailers and taking to social media about the issue.
The reduction in head size and availability has been blamed on the cold weather experienced at the end of November which stopped crop growth just as plants were maturing.
One Asda customer claimed that they had brought a cauliflower which contained just a single floret. “I was laughing to myself. How can they allow it to go on the shelves if it’s that tiny?” Joanne Sutherland from Nottinghamshire told The Sun. Lynda Nicholson from Scotland, was also deceived by what she thought was a standard cauliflower from Morrisons. She said: “It did appear to be a medium-sized cauliflower until I took all the leaves off and it was pretty small, probably about four-five centimetres in circumference.”
Aldi UK is to review its policy towards crop protection products with a particular emphasis on the use of neonicotinoids. According to the company, ‘The aim of this review is to establish an Aldi UK position on pesticide usage that will take our approach beyond the status quo, particularly in relation to pollinators.’
Campaign group Friends of the Earth said that the company had been under pressure after its German parent Aldi Süd banned eight pesticides – including three bee-harming neonicotinoids – from their fruits and vegetables following a campaign by Greenpeace Europe. The eight products banned by Aldi Süd are: thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos, clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor.
In the past some unilateral decisions on crop protection by certain retailers have been criticised by those who say it should be left to regulators to decide such matters. However, Friends of the Earth Bees campaigner Dave Timms said, “This review is welcome but Aldi’s new policy must include a strong commitment to keep neonicotinoid pesticides out of the production of its fruit, vegetable and cereals including wheat and oilseed rape.”
Photo Caption: Aldi is reviewing the pesticides that can be used on its produce