Customers at Foodstuffs supermarkets’ instore butchery, seafood counter, delicatessen and bakery will be able to have food packed into their own clean, leak-proof containers from June 1.
Auckland’s New World Long Bay launches the new policy slightly earlier on May 28. New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square stores in the North Island will offer it from June 1.
The service is only available at counter departments in store for the time being, and does not apply to bulk bins. This is so the store can inspect containers to make sure they’re clean and fit for purpose, and so the container’s weight can be subtracted from the weight of the product being purchased.
Mark Casey, group manager regulatory services at Foodstuffs North Island, says introducing a BYO container policy was not as easy as might be expected.
“We’ve run successful trials at a number of our stores where we worked out what we had to do for customers to bring their own containers. It’s not as simple as it looks. We take our responsibilities as a retailer of food very seriously – food safety is a top priority, so making sure our customers’ groceries aren’t compromised through poor hygiene is very important.”
“Many people don’t realise that products must be sold minus the cost packaging might add to a product. That’s why we restrict BYO to counters where we can subtract the weight of the container and produce a price label for the cost of the product only,” says Casey.
“We have to make quite significant changes to the way we operate to take the BYO option storewide, but this new policy in our counter areas is a major step towards zero waste.”
The new policy follows the phasing out of single-use shopping bags. Many retailers like Foodstuffs have voluntarily adopted changes ahead of new regulations against the bags, which will come into force from 1 July 2019.