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Fri 25 Jun 2021 | by Michelle Urquhart

Sales of refillables grows 9% at Waitrose

In response to growing customer demand for refillables, Waitrose is launching more new products as part of its pioneering Unpacked refillable concept, including loose tea for the first time. Sales of refillables at the four Waitrose sites trialling the Unpacked concept have grown by nearly 9% in the past six months with a number of products proving particularly popular with shoppers. Sales of refillable frozen fruit and vegetables for the same period have increased by more than 50%, detergent and washing-up liquid sales have grown by 24% and pulses, pasta and grains have risen by almost 8%. There are 13 new products now available with plans for more to be added later this year. The continued expansion of the range underlines Waitrose’s ambition to explore the potential to scale-up the initiative in the future. The new lines will all be cheaper than their packaged equivalent to encourage more people to make the switch to refillables. There will be five different varieties of loose tea for customers to choose from, including Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea as well as Waitrose Gold tea. Dried apricots, dried fruit mix, raisins, sultanas and currants have also been added. Popcorn has also launched and from June, frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn will sit alongside the selection of frozen fruit and vegetables already on offer. Since Waitrose Unpacked launched in summer 2019 the concept has helped save hundreds of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging. Marija Rompani, partner and director of ethics and sustainability said: “We are really beginning to find some momentum with customers demonstrating that this is how they might be prepared to shop with us in the future and we are especially encouraged by the response to moving the concept in-asile to make it more of the norm when visiting us. We know there is much more work to do, but the reaction of customers right now is giving us the confidence to continue moving forward with Unpacked.”