M&S takes refillables trial to Manchester

M&S will extend its refill trial to a second store following positive customer feedback.

The retailer revealed this week that 25 out of the 44 products available through a Fill Your Own pilot at its Hedge End store in Southampton are selling higher volumes than the packaged alternatives.

M&S plans to extend the Fill Your Own trial to a second store in Manchester city centre in March as it looks to test the refill concept across different formats and locations.

The announcement came as M&S’s own research found that over 75% of consumers are consciously trying to reduce their use of plastic packaging, with two thirds more likely to consider using refillable schemes now compared to this time last year, and around one in four shoppers actively seeking retailers that offer this service.

Porridge oats, basmati rice, and chocolate raisins have been among the best selling products at the Hedge End store since the Fill Your Own trial launched in December.

M&S isn’t the first retailer to report positive results from a reuse trial. Last month, Waitrose revealed that sales of refillables were outselling their packaged equivalents by 68% at its Unpacked concept store in Oxford.

“Our Fill Your Own concept is one area we’re focusing on as part of our action to reduce plastic packaging and support our customers to reuse and recycle,” said Paul Willgoss, director of food technology at M&S. “As a completely new way of shopping, we’re keen to better understand refill across the entire store process from behind the scenes operations to working together with our customers to encourage behaviour change.”

M&S research found that the main barrier to shopping refill and unpackaged groceries was the challenge of finding retailers that offer this service (38%), followed by the need to carry containers (18%), and the perception that unpackaged seems more expensive than packaged alternatives (14%).

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