Morrisons has asked its branded suppliers to step up in the war on plastic, as part of a commitment to reduce the amount of the material in its stores and supply chain operations.

The supermarket made the appeal at its annual supplier conference, to which 1,600 suppliers were invited. It is asking its branded suppliers to reduce plastic in both product packaging and on-shelf display packaging, as well as in the materials in which these products are transported to stores.

It hopes that this will remove thousands of tonnes of plastic from shelves a year, and make it easier for customers to reduce the amount of plastic they are purchasing.

Advice and guidance will be offered by Morrisons technical teams to help brands reduce their plastic packaging, the retailer said. As the supermarket is ‘vertically integrated’, and manufactures more than half of the fresh food it sells, it stressed it is in a unique position to be able to offer support to the industry.

Andy Atkinson, group commercial director at Morrisons, said: “As the UK’s biggest fresh food maker we are committed to helping our customers live their life with less plastic. So we are asking our branded suppliers to join with us in reducing our plastic footprint as this is a priority for our customers.”

Morrisons has already committed to a 50 per cent reduction across its own-brand primary plastic packaging by 2025. Initiatives introduced over the last 12 months will remove 9,000 tonnes of unnecessary or problematic plastic each year. Eighty three per cent of its own-brand plastic packaging is now able to be recycled.