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Jumbo embraces natural branding

Amsterdam, June 7, 2018 – This summer, Jumbo will be the first national supermarket chain to actively reduce its use of plastic packaging by using natural branding. This is a technique in which laser light is used to brand vegetables and fruit, by removing a little bit of pigmentation from the outer layer of the product’s skin. Jumbo will start with the organic vegetables ginger, butternut squash, and zucchini, and is currently researching which other product might qualify for the laser technique. The initiative comes at a time where more and more attention is given to the reduction of single-use packaging plastics.

The Dutch organic wholesale store Eosta in Waddinxveen has been branding vegetables and fruit for several years. Eosta’s sustainability manager Michaël Wilde: “We’re very happy that a large party like Jumbo is going to use this technique. We know from experience not only how effective natural branding is, but also how positive the responses from consumers are.”

Jumbo is striving towards increased sustainability of its supply of Dutch potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. When foodstuffs of plant origin meet certain requirements – such as cultivation with far fewer plant production products – the products are eligible for the international PlanetProof label, which will replace the Dutch Miliekeur label starting January 1, 2019. Doing away with plastic packaging, however, isn’t a separate sustainability criteria in the certification scheme. The new PlanetProof label does formulate requirements about plastic packaging itself. Use of PVC, for example, is prohibited, and starting January 1st, use of black plastic is no longer allowed.

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “We wholeheartedly congratulate Jumbo with this important step in the direction of package-free products. We hope the initiative will not only inspire a host of imitators, but that through the sustainability labels, the use of single-use plastic packaging will be further discouraged. The fact that this isn’t happening yet, is a missed opportunity.”

Also read: Food waste and plastic waste go hand in hand 

Eerste plasticvrije supermarkt ter wereld
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World’s first Plastic Free Aisle to debut in Amsterdam

De gevel van de eerste plasticvrije supermarkt aan de Jan Pieter Heijestraat in Amsterdam.

The façade of the first plastic free supermarket at the Jan Pieter Heijestraat in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam, February 28th – The world’s first Plastic Free Aisle will today be unveiled at an Amsterdam supermarket.

The brainchild of international environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, the aisle will sit within a completely new metro-sized pilot store of the Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza.

Almost 700 plastic-free products will be included in the pilot including: meat; rice; sauces; dairy; chocolate; cereals; yogurt; fresh fruit and vegetables all conveniently packaged.

Interieur van Ekoplaza Lab.

Interior of the Ekoplaza Lab.

Ekoplaza will roll out the aisle across its 74 branches across the Netherlands by the end of this year. The second store with a Plastic Free Aisle is expected to be in The Hague with the opening set for June this year.

It will be a testbed for innovative new compostable bio-materials as well as traditional materials such as glass, metal and cardboard.

The launch comes just a month after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her backing for Plastic Free Aisles in her first major speech on the environment.

A Populus poll revealed last year that more than nine-in-ten Britons back the introduction of a Plastic Free Aisle in supermarkets, and campaigners hope that UK supermarkets will soon follow Ekoplaza’s lead.

Plastic Free Mark

Het plasticvrij-keurmerk

The Plastic Free Mark-label.

Goods within the aisle will all bear the Plastic Free Mark, a new label introduced by A Plastic Planet to help shoppers quickly identify products that are completely free from plastic packaging.

A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland said: “The introduction of the world’s first Plastic Free Aisle represents a landmark moment for the global fight against plastic pollution.

“For decades shoppers have been sold the lie that we can’t live without plastic in food and drink. A Plastic Free Aisle dispels all that. Finally we can see a future where the public have a choice about whether to buy plastic or plastic free. Right now we have no choice.

“There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic. Plastic food and drink packaging remains useful for a matter of days yet remains a destructive presence on the earth for centuries afterwards.

“Europe’s biggest supermarkets must follow Ekoplaza’s lead and introduce a Plastic Free Aisle at the earliest opportunity to help turn off the plastic tap.”

Eerste plasticvrije supermarkt ter wereld

Ekoplaza Lab has the worlds first plastic free aisle.

Ekoplaza Chief Executive Erik Does said: “Plastic Free Aisles are an important stepping stone to a brighter future for food and drink.

“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging. Plastic Free Aisles are a really innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.”