M&S Cafe sandwiches cardboard packaging  2100x1400

Source: M&S

The new cardboard packaging for sandwiches at M&S Cafés

Marks & Spencer has introduced new recyclable paper packaging for all sandwiches and toasties served at its cafés across the UK.

The entire range is now available in easy-to-recycle, FSC-approved cardboard or paper packaging, which is said to use 79% less plastic without compromising quality or customer selection.

Although a small window of transparent plastic remains on sandwich boxes, allowing customers to view the bread and filling, M&S has assured that this is accepted by recyclers to be recycled in the paper waste stream.

M&S has over 300 café locations nationwide, with the change expected to remove an estimated 4.5 million units of plastic – 1.7 million across sandwiches and 2.8 million across toasties. This supports the retailer’s Plan A target to remove 1 billion units of plastic packaging by 2027, forming part of its roadmap towards net zero by 2040.

The disposal of product packaging is included in the scope 3 emissions of a bakery business, a topic we explored in our recent sustainability feature.

M&S Cafe toasties paper packaging  2100x1400

Source: M&S

New paper packaging for toasties at M&S Cafés

M&S said it has a leading track record of taking action against plastic packaging, citing reduction of plastic waste as one of the key issues that its customers cared most strongly about.

At the end of last year, M&S became the first national retailer to launch takeaway coffee cups which are 100% recyclable in the paper waste stream, and also met its target to remove 75 million units in 2023/24 – four months earlier than planned.

Lucinda Langton, head of sustainability at M&S Food, revealed that the brand new café menu for 2024 – which included gluten-free and vegan options – had presented the opportunity to innovate packaging to remove and reduce unnecessary plastic and this lower its impact on the planet.

“Our sandwiches and toasties in M&S Cafés are particularly popular options as customers look to sit down and relax when shopping with us,” she added.

The Compleat Food Group is also looking to switch to 100% recyclable or reusable packaging for its food-to-go sandwich offerings, with its targets towards achieving net zero by 2040 validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) last December.