From 1 October 2018 New World, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square customers around the country can expect to see a range of alternative bag options at the checkout. Since May, a handful of stores in the North and the South Island have been trialling paper bags and multi-use recyclable plastic bags as an option for customers who forget their reusable bags. The alternatives have been well-received by customers.
“Finding the right solution for customers is something the supermarkets have been wrestling with,” says Chris Quin, CEO, Foodstuffs North Island Ltd. “Multiple strategies have been in place for many years to help customers reduce the amount of single use plastic bags they have been using, but we realise our customers need more help to change the habit of a life time.”
“In 2017 New World started with Bag Vote when we asked our customers what they wanted to do – and our shoppers were clear, they want to see single use plastics gone,” say Quin. “We listened and we’re working hard to deliver on our commitment and exit from single use plastic bags from all our brands by the end of 2018.
“We know people will forget their reusable bags or get caught short, and that’s why we are trialling paper and multi-use recyclable plastic,” adds Quin. With all stores offering paper, multi-use recyclable plastic and reusable options from 1 October, Quin hopes the business will be able to take on board even more learnings as it heads towards being single use plastic bag free by the 31 December 2018.
“We don’t necessarily have all the answers, but the key thing is reminding customers to bring their reusable bags. They are 100% the best way forward both in terms of meeting customers’ needs and for the environment.
“We’re going one step further on 1 August and taking New World Devonport single-use plastic bag free – our customers in this seaside supermarket have really taken to reusable bags, so we’re comfortable switching off the plastic.” Selected stores are already bag free and more more stores may follow in a carefully managed process, taking into account customer needs.
To date New World alone has given away more than 2 million long-life reusable bags to customers to help them with the transition. For the last three weeks New World has been rewarding customers for bringing in their reusable bags – with the chance to win a whole host of eco-friendly prizes.
At New World, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square stores, customers will be able to purchase a range of bag options. Prices vary, however long life reusable bags start at 99 cents.
Quin says, “Most of our customers are ready for change and we’re excited by the positive reaction we’ve had to our trial. Extending this throughout all our stores in October will help every customer to be ready to roll with their reusable bags by 31 December.”