Morrisons is set to become the first British supermarket to roll out plastic-free fruit and veg areas in many of its stores.

The supermarket revealed that customers will be able to choose from up to 127 varieties of fruit and veg, with the option of buying them loose or putting them into recyclable paper bags.

The move follows a 10-month trial in three Morrisons stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives, where the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40 per cent.The supermarket hopes the new 'buy bagless' fruit and veg shelves will result in a similar switch from bagged to loose, saving an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week, equating to 156 tonnes a year.

Customers will see an entire section of the fruit and veg department with no plastic, although there will be a neighbouring section where customers can still buy packaged veg if they choose. When customers buy loose fruit and veg, they can either take them through the checkout loose or bag them in Morrisons recyclable paper bags.

The loose fruit and veg areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores during the course of 2019. They will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment programme nationwide.

The loose veg range includes everyday essentials such as carrots, potatoes and onions as well as more unusual seasonal varieties such as celeriac. Fruit will include apples, pears and oranges, plus figs, persmimons and pomegranates.The expansion of the range means that for the first time, customers will also be able to buy loose cauliflower, white cabbage and chestnut mushrooms.

Drew Kirk, fruit and veg director at Morrisons, said: “Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose. So we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like. We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery and we hope customers appreciate the choice.”