Changes to plastic packaging on pizza bases and mince pie boxes are among actions that have helped Asda meet its plastic reduction target for 2018.

The retailer had pledged to remove 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own-label product packaging in 2018 – a goal it has met. Asda is now working to make all its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025.

Product innovation and redesign helped reduce plastic on nearly 1,000 individual product lines, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, homeware and chilled items including ready meals and pizzas.

Some of the changes include:

  • Changing pizza bases from non-recyclable polystyrene to fully recyclable cardboard
  • Removing plastic windows and film from more than 1.6 million mince pies at Christmas
  • Swapping family chilled ready-meal trays from black plastic to foil
  • Replacing five million plastic bags on its bedding range with a cardboard band
  • Taking plastic covers off more than 50 million greetings cards

“Making changes of this scale in a business of this size is never easy, but I was clear last year that we needed to take a root-and-branch review of what packaging we use for our products,” said Roger Burnley, president and CEO of Asda.

“Our customers expected this of us and while we’ve reached a major milestone, we know there is more that can be done and we are committed to making meaningful changes wherever possible. In many cases, packaging is still essential to protect against waste, but avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic will rightly be the starting point for all of our packaging designs in future.”

Asda is one of the signatories to the UK Plastics Pact which was unveiled by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in April 2018. It laid out ambitious targets, including eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging and making 100% of plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Many in the food and drink arena are taking steps to reduce and remove plastic packaging from supply chains. Subscribers to British Baker can find out more by reading our latest feature here.