Sustainable Supermarkets: Eco-Friendly Updates From 2020
by Laura Barns
2020 was arguably the year that sustainable shopping went mainstream. From growing sustainability efforts in the fashion industry, to eco-conscious practices entering the world of tech, supermarkets were also at the forefront of this planet-friendly progress.
All of this development has been underpinned by increasing global consciousness around combatting climate change. As the world scrambles to decrease its carbon footprint, the next decade marks a critical one for sustainability.
Whether it’s doing their bit to save the planet or improving the health of those living on it, supermarket owners have been making big changes to their policies. We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest trends and wins from 2020 that show that sustainable supermarket strategies are here to stay.
Packaging policies and updates in supermarkets
Loose fruit and veg and a ban on plastic bags became more common in grocers nationwide over recent years, but refill schemes were an emerging trend from 2020. Research from GlobalData found that 71.3% of Brits were willing to use food refill services in order to cut down on waste and improve food sustainability for the environment. Asda kicked off 2020 with plans to launch a refill scheme at its Leeds store in May.
In June last year, Waitrose launched a scheme where customers were able to fill up or refill their own containers with a range of products in a bid to reduce waste. M&S soon followed suit and stepped-up its commitment to reducing plastic waste by introducing a scheme that encourages customers to bring their own reusable containers to its Market Place food-to-go counters.
Read on for more details of evolving packaging polices in supermarkets here.
Putting the eco-customer first
We’ve heard the age-old line that fills retail workers with dread – ‘the customer is always right’. However, trends from last year suggest that to stay ahead of the competition, supermarkets need to think not just customer first, but eco-customer first. After all, the plastic packaging revolution has been entirely consumer-led.
A big part of this is transparency – the rise in the demand from customers to know where and how their produce has been made, the working conditions in which it was produced, and the emissions from manufacturing and transport.
Faster, greener deliveries
As well as changes to the shopping experience in-store, 2020 also brought a new change in the way consumers received food via delivery, largely due to the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Recent research from Capgemini has revealed consumers’ increasing appetite for faster and more frequent deliveries, but without a negative impact on the planet. It’s been more important than ever for supermarkets and commerce brands in general to prioritise both convenience and sustainability. We expect this trend to continue into 2021, with a focus on carbon-neutral delivery partners (just like ours), and initiatives such as pick-up points and bundle deliveries.
Venturing into veganism
A trend we’re particularly excited to see grow is the rise of vegan options in supermarkets across the UK and beyond.
As of December 2020, in a report by Kantar, it was shared that one in four Brits were choosing a more flexitarian diet. In fact, 86% of M&S’s plant-based meals were eaten by non-vegans. And we don’t envision this slowing down any time soon. The UK meat-free market is set to reach £658 million in 2021, and the UK launched more vegan products than anywhere else in 2019 and 2020.
by Laura Barns
Laura is our Copywriter, who is obsessed with the Hearty Roots Stew (and has been known to eat a double serve for lunch on more than one occasion). On her day off you’ll find her walking her puppy Ralph, stopping off at bookshops and cocktail bars along the way.