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Packaging – advantage health stores

Health food suppliers and retailers have made giant strides in the war against plastic.

They are aware that the vast majority of UK consumers are doing their level best to cut their plastic waste, and almost half would pay more for eco-friendly packaging.

YouGov research shows that households want to get behind the eco drive and are therefore prime targets for health stores leading the way in finding alternatives to single-use plastics.

The surge in demand for eco-packaging comes predominantly from young people with 51% of respondents aged between 18 and 24 expressing a sense of guilt about environmental damage, although this is not nearly so marked by consumers in their 50s.

For 81% of shoppers surveyed, fresh fruit and vegetable packaging was the main focus, with household and cleaning products at 36%, homeware 32%, toiletries 27% and cosmetics 18%. Only 33% were opposed to paying more for biodegradable packing.

Companies in the natural health sector are already ahead in many aspects of eco-packaging. Several hung their hats on this peg at Natural & Organic Products Expo in April.

Suma has reduced packaging with its Ecoleaf zero waste dispenser units and an extensive rebranding exercise over the next 18 months. “We’re supporting our customers’ zero waste activity by supplying bulk commodities and cleaning products, including the dispenser units,” said the co-op’s Sheree Hatton.

Viridian Nutrition is reducing packaging on 35% of the company’s 300+ individual products, resulting in a 12.5 tonne reduction in total packaging weight in 2019. Smaller bottles more appropriate to the size and number of capsules will create more space on retailers’ shelves. Viridian is also changing the tamper-evident over-seal on bottles from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to plant-based polylactic acid (PLA).

BetterYou unveiled its £700,000 Better Planet Project with a range of initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint and reliance on non-sustainable resources. Initially, packaging across the entire commercial range is being switched to either plant-based, carbon-negative plastic or plastic made from 100% recycled materials, and is one of the first companies globally to use ocean-recovered and recycled waste packaging for an entire product range.

Companies and retailers with a story to tell about plastics and packaging waste should send details to the editor, [email protected].

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