Plastic particles from food packaging are everywhere – even in your teabags.
New World and Prolife Foods will introduce recycled paper bags at Alison’s Pantry bulk foods departments across the country, it was announced on Monday.
The paper bags were trialled at 30 New World and Pak’n Save stores across the country in February to gauge customers’ preference for recycled paper bags versus the resealable plastic bags currently available.
Both packaging options will now be available across all New World stores.
Foodstuffs sustainable packaging project manager Kelly McClean said the trial gave the company the opportunity to listen to customers.
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“We know many New Zealanders will be pleased to have two convenient, sustainable packaging options at our stores’ Alison’s Pantry departments.”
The trial also revealed customers use the current Alison’s Pantry plastic bags for food storage at home in the pantry or freezer.
The recycled paper bags are made of 70 per cent recycled content, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, are kerbside recyclable and feature a glassine, paper-based window.
Foodstuffs head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said the paper bags would be rolled out to Pak’n Save at a later date.
“Customer uptake and feedback was positive across both stores, but Covid happened, and we needed to reprioritise, so we’ll be rolling out the paper bags to Pak’n Save stores nationwide in early 2021.”
The shift to paper bags for Alison’s Pantry comes a year after the nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags.
Senior brand manager for Profile Foods Kristina McCalman said New Zealanders liked to have options and products that were convenient.
“We learned valuable lessons about the recycled paper bags during its trial, such as the need for a glassine window which makes it easy for customers and checkout staff to see what’s inside in the bag, and the need for a recyclable paper sticker to safely seal the bag for ease of transport home,” she said.
During the trial the companies also found that shoppers liked the current reusable plastic bag, which is why it would continue to be available for customers.
“Yes, it’s a plastic bag, but customers re-use it in their pantry, for tomorrow’s lunch and for freezing. It was important we strike the right balance of practicality, reusability, sustainability and convenience, and offering both bag options strikes the perfect balance.”
The nationwide roll-out of the recycled paper bags at 143 New World stores nationwide was just in time for Plastic Free July.
The theme for the month, “simple swaps,” was about showing the accessibility of small changes that would contribute to sustainability.