Last week Sobeys eliminated plastic grocery bags from their stores across Canada.
A retailer in London (Thornton’s Bugdens) eliminated plastic packaging from 2,000 SKUS
All major Canadian retailers (except Costco) made the commitment to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025
Consumers are concerned about the environment and they are forcing change within our food and beverage sector. This impacts every segment of the value chain; as producers, processors, distributors and retailers are held accountable to do their part.
This is a very complex issue. Unfortunately it is not as simple as just eliminating plastic or growing perfect apples. Industry will be forced to react and you might not always have the time or ability to find the best solution.
For me, the right decision must be one that takes the entire environmental footprint into consideration. Easier said than done but if we do not get to this point we will be mandated to do things we do not want to do or worse even, cannot do. Is it really better to bring strawberries across the continent because their packaging is not single use plastic when we can get the same product in a recyclable plastic container 2 hours from the warehouse?
I read in the news last week the national Department of Environment was concluding their assessment of single use plastic. Here are some quotes from the CTV news report:
Federal Minister of Environment Jonathan Wilkinson-
"We will be moving towards a ban on harmful single-use plastics and we will be doing that in 2021,"
"I think the Canadian public wants to see action quickly so certainly if there is a phase-in period, it won't be an extensive one."
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said there is no reason to wait until 2021.-
"We know that single-use plastics will stick around forever. The idea that plastics and a product that is being designed to be used one time and it will last forever is simply irrational and it doesn't make sense. We've got to put an end to it."
In our current parliament the Liberal government and NDP have a majority to pass legislation. We know plastic bags, straws and water bottles have been mentioned but we do not know what else. You can read the announcement here:
At SKUFood we have cooler talks for our members where we get together on Zoom for an hour and discuss issues impacting our industry. We call them cooler talks because in retail the cooler is the place where you can go to have a private conversation. We have our first cooler talk of 2020 planned for February 13th at 2pm (AST) or 1pm (EST). The topic will be sustainability and what is happening in our industry.
Today I was in a store and saw the following item on the shelf. The packaging really did intrigue me. Different and seems to be designed to address a number of the concerns consumers have.
Eliminates the plastic container
The product is better for the environment than some other laundry detergent
This is a certified B Corporation
Dermatologist tested for sensitive skin
0 fragrances, dyes or artificial brighteners
My question is, would you buy it?
From a quick look in the store you get 66 wash loads compared to 60 wash loads of the next product on the shelf. You also pay $14.99 vs. $8.29 or you can leave the natural food section and go to the grocery aisle where Tide original 24 wash load is $8.99.
What would you buy?
By the way, if they were working with SKUFood I would help them to do a much better job telling the story about the packaging. I had to look to find anything about their biggest point of differentiation.
You should be talking about these issues in your business, learning at industry events about what is happening out there and talking to your customers to see what they are planning to do. If you are a SKUFood member I look forward to hearing your perspective at our cooler talk February 13th at 2pm (AST) or 1pm (EST).
If you have any questions please give me a call at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.