Nude' shopping next big trend

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Nude' shopping next big trend

But keep your clothes on....’food in the nude’ means beginning of the end for plastic in supermarkets. Sales of some vegetables have soared by up to 300 per cent following moves by a number of New Zealand supermarkets to ditch plastic packaging.

A group of New World supermarkets have abandoned the use of plastic wrapping for virtually all of their fruit and vegetables in a project labelled 'food in the nude'. Pioneered by the New World store at Bishopdale in Christchurch, it has led to stunning sales figures."We monitor them year on year and after we introduced the concept we noticed sales of spring onions, for example, had increased by 300 per cent," says Bishopdale owner Nigel Bond. "There may have been other factors at play but we noticed similar increases in other vegetable varieties like silver beet and radishes. 

"When we first set up the new shelving our customers were blown away," he says. "It reminded me of when I was a kid going to the fruiterer with my Dad, you could smell the fresh citrus and spring onions. By wrapping products in plastic we sanitise and deprive people of this experience; it (dispensing with plastic) was a huge driver for us."

Bond says he was initially concerned his plans could backfire: "When you take on these projects they can be a disaster and lead to customer pushback but in my 30 years in the supermarket industry this simple change has resulted in the most positive feedback from customers I have ever received."

The initiative is part of the war against plastic. In New Zealand the days of single-use plastic shopping bags are numbered – most supermarkets no longer providing them at the check-out - while the government late last year agreed to regulations for a mandatory phase-out across all retailers from July 1.

Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced worldwide every year, half is used just once and thrown away, while only nine per cent is recycled. In New Zealand about 252,000 tonnes of plastic waste goes into landfill each year, a significant amount also ending up in our waterways and ultimately the sea.

Bond says eight or nine New World supermarkets in the South Island have followed Bishopdale's example, a move which is part of a suite of sustainable practices adopted by New World owner Foodstuffs.

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