Grocery stores in New Zealand have ditched the use of plastic wrap on all their fruit and veggies in a project called “food in the nude” and have seen their sales soar by up to percent.
Nigel Bond, New World store at Bishopdale in Christchurch said,
“We monitor them year on year and after we introduced the concept we noticed sales of spring onions, for example, had increased by 300 percent. 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. 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.”1
This move is part of the war on plastic. In fact, the days of single-use plastic shopping bags in New Zealand are numbered; most stores no longer provide them at check-out and last year the government agreed to a mandatory phase-out by July 1st.
“Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced worldwide every year, half is used just once and thrown away, while only nine percent 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.”2
The good news is that eight or nine other New World supermarkets have followed suit.
Bond says he got his idea from visiting a Whole Foods in the U.S. where “…fresh food and their merchandising is almost an art form.”3(And no worries, they are using refrigeration and misting just like we do here in the states. Food is safe and fresh and they are cutting down on their use of plastics. All at the same time!)
The New World stores are also trying another initiative: bring your own containers.
Well done New Zealand!