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British retail chain Marks and Spencer (M&S) has rolled out a food refill scheme.
The scheme, which was tested at an M&S store in Southampton last year, allows customers to bring their reusable containers when purchasing select food products from the chain. To accommodate customers with no containers, M&S is also giving out free recyclable bags.
In March, the retail chain announced the extension of the scheme’s trial in an M&S Manchester store. Plans to implement the scheme to other M&S stores are in discussion.
Because of the scheme’s popularity among customers, more than half of M&S’s fill-your-own products outsold their packaged counterparts. Some of the popular unpackaged products include Fiorelli pasta, basmati rice, and milk chocolate raisins. The scheme’s popularity also resulted in a 38% increase in sales of M&S’s reusable containers at the Southampton store since the trial’s launch.
M&S director of food technology Paul Willgoss explained that the company adopted the scheme as an attempt to encourage its customers to recycle, reuse, and reduce plastic waste.
The chain’s decision to extend the initiative appears to be timely as more and more people strive to reduce waste. A study conducted by M&S revealed that three out of four shoppers prefer using less plastic. Survey results also showed that 38% of consumers, who would rather shop using their reusable containers, have difficulty finding other stores that implement a scheme similar to M&S’s.