Asda to offer refilling stations at more stores including in Yorkshire in a bid to reduce packaging

Leeds-based Asda is rolling out its refill proposition to four more stores by the end of the year.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 10:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 10:56 am

The supermarket will be trialling new refill configurations in stores, partnering with more household brands and engaging with customers in different parts of the UK to understand how best to encourage refill participation amongst as many customers as possible.

The largest refill store to date will open at York in October with 18 standalone bays featuring over 70 branded and own-label products in refillable format with brand new product types including dried Mars pet food such as Whiskas and Pedigree and additional ranges of snacking, desserts and baking products.

The supermarket said the move was the next step on its journey to help customers reduce, reuse or recycle their supermarket packaging.

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Refill stations in Middleton, Leeds store.

The rollout follows the successful launch of the refill zone last October in Middleton in Leeds , with several products outstripping packaged sales and many customers travelling from outside the local area to shop sustainably.

Pre-Loved, which was also initially trialled in Middleton is now in over 50 stores across the country, while the supermarket is also evaluating plans to roll-out increased customer recycling facilities to more stores later this year.

The initiatives announced today include:

Four additional refill stores all featuring an increased range of new core products and partnerships with some of the UKs most popular household brands including Yorkshire Tea, an increased range of Kellogg’s cereals, new own-label and Nestle cereals, Napolina pasta, and Tilda rice alongside new 'prefilled' trials of Radox and Persil.

Refill stations in the Leeds store.

A nine bay standalone refill fixture in the Milton Keynes store launching in December, featuring branded and own-label cereals, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, snacking, desserts and baking products. The store will also sell refillable pet food, laundry and toiletry products within specific aisles.

Asda’s first refill offer in Scotland at the Glasgow Toryglen store in August, featuring cereals, rice, pasta, tea, coffee, toiletry and laundry products sold in specific aisles.

Branded and own-label tea, coffee, cereals, rice, pasta, laundry and toiletries launching in specific aisles at the Rugby store in August.

All four stores will feature Persil, Radox, Simple and Alberto Balsam products from Unilever in stainless steel reusable bottles. These will be tested in two refill formats; refill on the go where shoppers can refill their bottle using a machine in-store and, in a global first for Unilever and Asda, return on the go where shoppers can pick up pre-filled bottles off the shelf and return them in-store once used.

Susan Thomas, Director of Commercial Sustainability at Asda said: “We know that reducing packaging waste matters to our customers and they have embraced the refill options available at the Middleton store, with many of the products available already exceeding expectations.

“Our ultimate goal is to make refill and reuse a part of every Asda shopping trip and to achieve this we have to make it easy, accessible and affordable for all our customers to shop this way. Middleton was a great introduction to how customers engage with refill products and we are now looking to accelerate these learnings by trialling different refill options in more stores to understand which aspects can potentially developed further.”

The announcement follows the publication of Asda’s first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report last month, which sets out its commitments to implementing a sustainable business strategy and outlines how the supermarket will make it easier and more affordable for customers to shop sustainably. It also reaffirmed its ‘Greener at Asda’ price promise – a commitment that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than packaged equivalents.

Sebastian Munden, Unilever UK & Ireland’s Executive Vice President & General Manager said: “Asda share our ambition and urgency to tackle plastic pollution, so it’s great to scale up our partnership with them and continue to test different refill models in their stores. Including our first ever trial of reusable stainless steel bottles which are available pre-filled on shelf and then dropped off in-store once used. By testing and learning what works best in-store, we can understand how to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to make sustainable choices, whilst still using the brands they know and love.”