Tesco threatens to ban products with poor packaging


Tesco has revealed that the size and suitability of suppliers’ packaging will be assessed from next year, warning that it reserves the right to ban products with ‘excessive’ or ‘inappropriate’ packaging.

Announcing the move on 22 August, Tesco Group chief executive David Lewis said: “Overhauling every piece of packaging in a business is hard, but it has got to be done.

“We’ve already shown what can be achieved through partnerships with our work on food waste – we are now 85 per cent of the way to delivering our commitment that no good food goes to waste in Tesco. There’s no reason we can’t achieve the same with packaging.

“For that reason, we’re setting ourselves and our suppliers a challenge. The need is urgent and so from next year, we will assess the size and suitability of all packaging as part of our ranging decisions, and if it’s excessive or inappropriate, we reserve the right not to list it.”

‘Driving change across food industry’

The decision is part of the second phase of Tesco’s ‘Remove, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ plan. In 2018, the supermarket published a ‘preferred materials list’ which categorises materials as red, amber or green depending on how easily recycled they are. The hardest to recycle ‘red’ materials are due to be eliminated from own brand products by the end of 2019, and Tesco is now working with branded suppliers to do the same.

The next stage of the packaging agenda will focus on the size and suitability of packaging. Over 1,500 suppliers have been briefed over four meetings to expect assessments from next year to ensure excess packaging is removed.

“We’ll look at this category by category so every product is treated fairly and we’ll give sufficient time to make these changes,” David Lewis explained.

“If we get this right, the progress we make will reverberate through the whole supply chain and drive meaningful change across the food industry.”

Best practice

According to Tesco, one branded crisp manufacturer has already delivered a 5,000-tonne reduction in packaging weight by reducing the size of its multi-buy crisp packets. The move also resulted in 50,000 less road miles as pallets were packed more efficiently, reducing the number of lorry journeys.

Posted under Material and Packaging Efficiency and Food and Drink on 11 September 2019