As part of our commitment to reduce plastic waste we’re trialling a new kind of packaging on our fresh chicken that will cut plastic waste by 75 tonnes every year.
From 20th May we’ll be swapping the hard plastic trays for soft pouches on our 250g and 500g packs of diced chicken breasts and mini chicken fillets – more than halving the amount of plastic used currently. We’re trialling the new packaging from our Bristol depot to 68 stores across the south west. If it’s successful and consumers prefer it we’ll roll it out to every store.
It’s something we’re really excited about and it’s not exclusive to Asda – we’d love other retailers to follow our lead. As well as reducing plastic waste it also reduces our carbon footprint and makes it easier for customers to use.
Our main poultry supplier approached us with the new technology in October. They spent three months testing it to make sure the product life remains the same. We also carried out consumer research and found that plastic waste is very much front of mind for the customer because of all the media coverage and programmes like Blue Planet.
They’re aware of their own plastic consumption and they’re looking for ways to reduce it. With chicken there aren’t currently any alternative options – you either buy it in a hard plastic tray or you don’t buy it.
At home most customers use a knife to cut the plastic trays open which increases the risk of cross contamination and the risk of campylobacter. With the new packs you don’t have to handle the raw poultry at all. It’s really easy to use – you just rip the pack open and pour the chicken straight into the pan. It’s ready prepared so you can add it straight to things like stir fries.
The packs are automatically filled by a machine so there’s no risk of contaminating the outside of the pack by handling it.
And because the pouches don’t take up as much space we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint too because we can fit more on a lorry. It also helps colleagues in store because we can fit more on the shelves – and they don’t take up as much room in your fridge or freezer.