New recyclable packaging for Vine tomato. Photo: Marks and Spencer
New recyclable packaging for Vine tomato.Photo: Marks and Spencer

Well-known retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has launched a new environment-friendly, recyclable packaging for its British collection of vine tomatoes to make its grocery products more sustainable.

The new packaging has 95% reduced plastic than the previous iteration and is expected to eliminate 8 million units of plastic by the end of the year. 

In the new packaging, a difficult-to-recycle plastic sleeve is replaced with recyclable cardboard and a negligible quantity of plastic film, just enough to maintain the freshness of the tomatoes. The package can be repurposed as cardboard in a home recycling bin.

Tomato varieties such as Piccolo, Pomodolci, and Capella will come in the new packaging across all Marks and Spencer stores and through Ocado.

Recyclable tomato packaging

The new creative design, which is part of M&S’s commitment to making all food packaging widely recyclable by 2025, has been developed with the help of Leicester-based The Reflex Packaging Group and is influenced by traditional sandwich packaging.

The retailer aims to eliminate one billion units of plastic food packaging by 2027. 

Marks and Spencer introduced recyclable packaging earlier for its Mandagold Tangerines and helped eliminate around 748,000 pieces of plastic.

Andrew Clappen, technical director at M&S Food, said their customers are concerned about the environment and expect the company to produce sustainable products. 

Clappen said Marks and Spencer is exploring alternatives in recyclable packaging to help meet the plastic reduction targets.

He said M&S wants its customers to trust its value and shop with confidence as it is working towards providing sustainable, quality products.

Marks and Spencer and their new venture

The latest Family Matters Index of M&S showed that 64% of UK families are worried about the environment, and 56% are trying to understand their impact on the ecology. 

About 88% agreed that supermarkets should use recyclable packaging wherever possible, and 37% are changing their food choices due to climate change.

The new packaging is fully recyclable at home, making it easier for consumers to recycle soft plastic. M&S has introduced recycling take-back units in more than 500 stores in the UK, where customers can drop off items such as sweet wrappers and yogurt lids, even those not bought elsewhere. It has reset its Plan A sustainability program to focus on becoming a net Zero Scope 3 business in all its supply chain and products by 2040 and aims to help customers make more eco-friendly choices.

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