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We’ve brought together the latest news and initiatives relating to recycling and sustainability. In this round-up, we’ll review how Tesco is planning to trial a new innovative system that converts plastic to oil, while Asda is set to launch a partnership that aims to increase the recyclability of baby food pouches. We’ll also look at Aldi’s pledge to develop fully sustainable packaging by 2025, while in Russia, Budweiser is launching the ReCup sports arena using recycled plastic bottles.

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We look in more detail at how Tesco is trialling removing plastic packaging on some of its fruit and vegetables.

Plastic-free for 45 products

In an effort to reduce plastic waste Tesco has launched a month-long trial to remove plastic packaging on a selection of its fruit and vegetables. The trial will take place in its Watford and Swindon stores. The plastic packaging will be removed from 45 products where loose alternatives are available.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Tesco announced in 2018 that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019, ensure all paper and board used is 100% sustainable by 2025 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025. This is all part of its ambition to get to a closed loop packaging system and achieve zero waste. To do this Tesco also wants to improve recovery and recycling, working with the government on a national recycling infrastructure. Alongside this is will be working to raise awareness in order to change shopper behaviour.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Speaking at the IGD 2018 Tesco Business Update Jason Tarry, chief product officer said;

"To complete the journey to a closed loop approach, we stand ready to work with government to reform the current approach to recycling in the UK."
Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


The movement towards plastic-free is positive in many ways, not just that it is good for the environment. As shoppers become more conscious of the impact retailers are having, taking action to show responsibility in this area is becoming more important for maintaining a positive image. It also looks good in store and is convenient for shoppers as they can buy the exact quantity they want. However, there is a risk of damage to products and potential for it to create a messy environment. Tesco will need to manage the stock effectively to ensure no significant damage to products, and that there is none left over that shoppers will not buy.

Tesco customers can place orders via an app for grocery deliveries made by robot.

Tesco is working with Starship Technologies to offer customers the ability to order groceries from a Tesco Extra store in Milton Keynes. Deliveries in as little as 15 minutes, within a 2-mile radius of the store, will be possible. There are over 1000 products listed on the Starship App, and customers will pay the standard shelf price, plus £1 for delivery.

The robots can carry up to 10 kilos in weight and travel up to 4 mph. Each robot has a GPS tracking system, it can be controlled by a remote operator and its location can be viewed by the customer on the app. Groceries are picked in store, then placed in a secure compartment and the customer can access their purchases through a link sent to them through the app.

Source: Starship Technologies

Increased robot usage across food and grocery industries.

Starship Technologies previously trialled unaccompanied robot deliveries in Milton Keynes with Co-op in 2018, fulfilling around 1,000 grocery orders. Co-op used the robots again over the Christmas period to deliver groceries and collect letters from children to deliver to Santa. Co-op will be continuing the trial with the robots this year. Usage of these robots has also been trialled by Just Eat for takeaway food deliveries and also by Hermes for parcel deliveries.

UK-based Tesco and France-based Carrefour have announced an intention to enter into a long-term, strategic alliance. The retailers have said they expect the alliance will be formally agreed in the next two months.

Alliance to cover three areas

Carrefour and Tesco said the alliance would cover:

  • Strategic relationship with global suppliers
  • Joint purchasing of own brand products
  • Joint purchasing of goods not for resale

The retailers said they see the alliance being governed by a three-year agreement.

Explaining the rationale behind the alliance, they said they expect it ‘to improve the quality and choice of products available to their customers, at even lower prices thereby enhancing their competitiveness.’

Both stressed that each would ‘continue to work with supplier partners at a local and national level.

Chief executives’ statements

Discussing the alliance, Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, said: “ I’m delighted to be entering into a strategic alliance with Carrefour. By working together and making the most of our collective product expertise and sourcing capability, we will be able to serve our customers even better, further improving choice, quality and value.

Meanwhile, Carrefour’s chief executive, Alexandre Bompard, said: “This strategic alliance between Carrefour and Tesco is a major agreement as it combines the purchasing expertise of two world leaders, complementary in their geographies, with common strategies. This agreement is a great opportunity to develop our two brands at the service of our customers. This international alliance further strengthens Carrefour allowing it to reach a key milestone in the implementation of its strategy.

Looking for more insight on Carrefour and Tesco? Subscribers can see the retailer's respective profiles here and here.


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