A New Zealand grocery store is attempting to slash its plastic use creatively with a new “Food in the Nude” project. And no, it’s not about people getting naked – it’s about serving produce without a pile of packaging. According to SUPERMARKETNEWS, the New World Bishopdale market has installed a refrigeration shelving system for displaying vegetables and fruit without plastic packaging.
New World Bishopdale is having fun with cutting plastic. Owner Nigel Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS in his 30 years in the grocery store industry, they’ve received the most positive customer feedback ever as a result of the store’s Food in the Nude program. It’s comprises a pretty simple change: display produce sans polluting plastic packaging.
“Customers hailing from the USA tell us that it reminds them of shopping in Whole Foods back home…The new system works by misting the produce with water to keep it fresh. Vegetables are up to 90 percent water and studies have shown that misted produce not only looks better and retains its color and texture, it also has a higher vitamin content,” Bond told SUPERMARKETNEWS. “We’ve also installed a reverse osmosis system that treats the water by removing 99 percent of all bacteria and chlorine, so we are confident that the water we’re misting with remains pure. The misting is electronically controlled and provides great in-store theater; children just love it.”
He said because the system helps keep the fruit and vegetables fresh, less are wasted. Other New World stores could follow; New World Wigram has already made the switch. New World Bishopdale is also offering reusable string bags for weighing and carrying produce without plastic.
New World hopes to get rid of all single-use plastic bags in their stores by the end of this year. In an October press release, they said they’re taking steps like giving away two million long-life reusable bags to customers, introducing a voluntary donation for plastic bags that will go towards environmental causes, and continuing a rebate for the use of reusable bags in North Island stores which they said “has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in plastic bag use.”