Iceland has launched a new series of innovative packaging trials that will see the supermarket dramatically reduce its plastic usage across seven products if successful.

The supermarket has today (20 October) announced that it will launch the UK’s first standard pre-packed loaf of bread in fully recyclable paper packaging, and potatoes in a fully finished paper packaging format, completely free of plastic, in order to provide a more sustainable packaging option for these everyday items which are sold in high volumes.

The additional plastic-free and reduced plastic packaging trials will also include apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries and mushrooms.

Each packaging trial will be launched and run in discrete groups of different stores and for different time periods, helping Iceland monitor its customer responses from across the country. In total, if the new packaging formats are successfully rolled out across all sub-categories and all stores, Iceland will save over 350 tonnes of plastic per year.

Many of the new packaging launches represent new formats and technologies for the UK, and the trials will test and challenge established consumer perceptions of how the products they buy are packaged.

Bread and potatoes will be sold in be fully printed, recyclable bags made with sustainably sourced paper, delivering the same freshness and quality as the plastic bags customers currently see on shelves.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said: “These new, innovative packaging trials represent an important step in our journey to completely remove plastic from our own label ranges by the end of 2023. If these trials are successful, the impact on plastic reduction across our almost 1,000 stores will be huge.

“We recently called on big businesses to join us in publishing their full plastic footprint, to support our call for enhanced transparency. Now we are asking our customers to try these plastic free alternatives, as we continue to turn down our tap on plastic production.”

This is the latest in a series of industry leading trials which have seen the retailer lead the way in the fight against plastic, recently becoming the first major UK supermarket to publish its complete plastic footprint.

Iceland is recognised as the UK’s leader in frozen food and operates nearly 1,000 stores across the country, together with a multi-award-winning online shopping service. It represents 2.5 per cent of the UK grocery market.

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