Today (16 June) is World Refill Day, and UK supermarket chain Asda has announced it will be introducing more packaging-free refill stations to four more stores across its network.
The grocer said it will trial new refill configurations in stores, partnering with more household brands and engaging with customers in different parts of the UK to understand how best to encourage more people to use the refill stations. The concept aims to let consumers reuse their own containers to procure food and groceries, rather than purchasing more goods in single-use plastic packaging.
Asda has used World Refill Day to reveal a host of new initiatives in this space.
Yorkshire Tea, an increased range of Kellogg’s cereals, new own-label and Nestle cereals, Napolina pasta, and Tilda rice will now be available packaging-free in participating Asda stores.
Asda’s Middleton store in West Yorkshire was the first to feature refill stations, last year, but before the end of 2021 the concept will arrive in its shops in York, Milton Keynes, Glasgow Toryglen and Rugby.
With 18 standalone bays featuring over 70 branded and own-label products in refillable format, including dried Mars pet food such as Whiskas and Pedigree, the York store will house Asda’s largest refillable station when it opens in October.
A nine-bay standalone refill fixture in the Milton Keynes store will launch in December, featuring branded and own-label cereals, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, snacking, desserts and baking products.
Before that, in August, the refillable concept will appear in Glasgow and Rugby.
All four stores will feature Persil, Radox, Simple and Alberto Balsam products from Unilever in stainless steel reusable bottles. These will be tested in two refill formats: ‘refill on the go’, where shoppers can refill their bottle using a machine in-store; and ‘return on the go’, where shoppers pick pre-filled bottles off the shelf and return them in-store once used.
Susan Thomas, director of commercial sustainability at Asda, commented: “Our ultimate goal is to make refill and reuse a part of every Asda shopping trip and to achieve this we have to make it easy, accessible and affordable for all our customers to shop this way.
“Middleton was a great introduction to how customers engage with refill products and we are now looking to accelerate these learnings by trialling different refill options in more stores to understand which aspects can potentially developed further.”
Sebastian Munden, Unilever UK & Ireland’s executive vice president & general manager, said: “By testing and learning what works best in-store, we can understand how to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to make sustainable choices, whilst still using the brands they know and love.”
Jo Morley, head of campaigns at City to Sea, the organisation behind World Refill Day, added: ”This World Refill Day, we’re encouraging people to make changes to their everyday shopping and find out what they can refill near them, and its brilliant to see Asda leading the way, making refill and reuse more accessible and more affordable.”
[Image credit: Asda]