Kathryn Gray

Kathryn Gray

Kathryn Gray, general manager at exclusive Asda fruit supplier International Produce, has voiced her support for the chain’s recent initiative to reduce packaging across its fresh produce category.

As part of move away from packaging, Asda last week announced a trial whereby all packaging will be removed from 60 fresh produce lines at two stores in north-west England.

Gray said: “I think at this stage it’s too early to say where it’ll end up, but what ASDA are doing is pushing the concept as far as they possibly can to find out where the real practical limits are. But it’s certainly an excellent trial and it’s going to be really good to see it and it will help us focus on stripping packaging out wherever we can.

“[Costs wouldn’t rise] because in theory you do less packing, there’s less packaging, and there’s less packing costs. However, that needs to offset any increase in store waste and the trial will be about establishing all of these things, understanding how all these different dynamics interact, and whether the shoppers actually want to buy the loose. Although people might say they want less packaging, what you need to see is how they behave and what their actions are.”

If successful, the trials could prompt the start of a revolutionary approach to selling fresh produce and will be rolled out to Asda’s 316 UK stores.

Around 60 per cent of fresh produce sold by supermarket chains is currently pre-packed.