Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is testing fruits and vegetables without plastic wrapping at a store in Hoofddorp in the Netherlands.
In September 2018, Albert Heijn announced a commitment to reduce packaging material 25% by 2025.
The latest test, which is scheduled through 28 April, involves more than 100 uncooked organic and non-organic products such as carrots, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, celery, oranges, pears, apples and mango.
Albert Heijn has started the plastic free trial with an aim to save the estimated 270,000kgs of plastic per annum and to see how it affects the quality and shelf life of products.
Along with saving plastic, the test is also aimed at knowing how customers react to the fruit and vegetable department with most products having no plastic packaging.
The company has excluded potatoes, onions, herbs, convenience items, chilled vegetables and chilled fruit from the test.
Albert Heijn claims that it has been working on reducing plastic since several years to remove or reduce packaging or use more recyclable alternative materials.
Albert Heijn brand president Marit van Egmond said: “Especially with fruits and vegetables, many customers wonder whether plastic packaging is really necessary. We currently use ‘dry misting’ in more than 150 stores – a refined misting of water that keeps vegetables fresh for longer.
“We are now going to test whether the combination of ‘dry misting’ and no plastic packaging will improve the quality and shelf life in such a way that we can start saving on plastic packaging.”
In August 2018, Albert Heijn has announced the start of a 12-week test of a new app called “Find My Product” at its store in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, to help shoppers quickly and easily locate items in the store.
With the use of the technology, the exact location of the product can be determined using the smart phone, on a digital store map included in the app.