Waitrose & Partners has increased orders of its best-selling loose vegetables at Christmas by 75% year-on-year as sales of their packaged equivalents decreased.
In just over the last ten months, sales of loose broccoli has been on a steady increase of 8%, whereas a year ago, sales were on decline.
Waitrose & Partners fresh produce buyer Paul Bidwell, said: “For the last 20 years the convenience of packaged produce has seen it outsell loose, but as consumers have become increasingly environmentally conscious and wanting to buy only what they need, we could be returning to how people used to shop with loose produce making a big comeback.
“We know we have a lot of work still to do to encourage customers to buy more loose fruit and vegetables, but there are signs we are seeing a shift in customer behaviour and we want to build on that momentum.”
Waitrose said that sales of refillable items including lentils, pasta, cereals, and coffee, among others, have overtaken the sale of their packaged equivalents by 68%.
At its Botley Road, Oxford, shop – where the concept originally launched in June – refillable fusilli pasta and long grain rice are outselling their packaged versions by 37% and 78% respectively. Refillable porridge oats are also up 78%, red lentils are up by 62% and dried soft figs by almost 50%.
The retailer has committed to reduce the amount of own-brand packaging, including plastics, by a third by 2023 and to ban non-recyclable plastic from all branded and own-brand packaging by 2021.