M&S slashes plastic used in snack packaging

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Marks & Spencer’s new smaller packaging for its popcorn (left) compared to its previous packaging (right)
Marks & Spencer’s new smaller packaging for its popcorn (left) compared to its previous packaging (right)

Related tags: Packaging

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is to slash to amount of plastic used in food packaging for more than 140 of its products, in a move that would save 75t of packaging each year.

The revamp to M&S’s packaging, called Project Thin Air, will see the retailer’s snacks repacked in smaller, less bulky packets. The new packaging will also reduce the pocket of air at the top of packets, without cutting the amount of food inside.

Packaging for the retailer’s popcorn range has been reduced by 37%, while its portfolio of hand-cooked crisps now have 20% less plastic after switching to a thinner film.

M&S packaging expert Laura Fernandez said: ““We’ve been working on this project for over a year and are really pleased with the results.

‘Start of a much bigger piece of work’

“We see this as the start of a much bigger piece of work and hope to bring equally impressive savings to other areas of the business too.”

The reduction in plastic packaging equates to 142 fewer lorries on the road in 2017, according to M&S.

M&S’s new snack packaging plans followed the retailer’s move towards using lasers to etch labels into the skins of its avocados. The laser printing method would save 10t of paper and 5t of glue every year, claimed M&S.

The company said the technique could soon be used to label other fruit and vegetables and be adopted by other supermarkets looking for new ways to reduce waste.

Sustainability business plan

In June, M&S published the results of it sustainability business plan for the 2016/17 financial year. A key target of the plan was 100% recycled packaging in all of its products by 2020.

Meanwhile, last week, Coca-Cola European Partners revealed plans to double the amount of recycled plastic in all of its bottles by 2020, as part of a new sustainable packaging strategy.

CCEP head of sustainability Nick Brown advised manufacturers looking to make their packaging more sustainable in our exclusive video interview. 

Related topics: Ambient foods

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