Refill, please

The British retail chain Asda opened a new store, where various sustainability concepts are being tested. Partner Unilever is at the forefront of the project. For Unilever, this is the largest trial ever conducted in Europe on refill stations.

Asda has dedicated itself to sustainability with a new concept store in Middleton near Leeds. The retailer is cooperating with numerous popular household brands such as PG Tips, Vimto, Kellogg’s, Radox and Persil. For example, the new store features 15 large refill stations offering customers a choice of more than 30 food products in refillable format. The products include a selection of different Kellogg’s cereals, tea bags from PG Tips, Quaker Oats, Lavazza and Taylors of Harrogate coffee beans, Vimto Cordial and Asda’s own brand for rice and noodles.

Big test for Unilever

Unilever participates with a total of seven brands. For Unilever, it is by now the biggest test for refill stations in Europe. Cosmetic and body care brands such as Radox Shower Gel or Alberto Balsam Shampoo as well as Persil detergent are dispensed in reusable aluminum or stainless steel bottles via three non-contact refill machines. First-time buyers receive a new bottle. Customers who buy a new bottle should reuse their existing bottle. After refilling, buyers apply their printed label to the bottle and bring it to the checkout as usual. Each bottle has a unique QR code, which allows complete traceability of each bottle. This allows Unilever to better track the entire purchase, use and refill process.

The Unilever tea brands PG Tips and Pukka are available in self-service containers for loose tea. They are also available in fully biodegradable tea bags. Consumers will be able to bring their own reusable containers to the store or purchase them there. Once filled, they take it to the weighing station where a price label is printed. “It’s a great opportunity for us to find out, across seven of our leading brands, just how shoppers respond to using refillable and reusable packaging in-store,” said Sebastian Munden, Executive Vice President of Unilever UK & Ireland.

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