The company said it planned to bin boxes on its own brand breakfast cereals as part of a wide-ranging drive to reduce its packing weight by 50,000 tonnes - or 33 per cent - by 2015.
Sainsbury’s said it took the action in response to customer concerns about packaging and after testing to make sure the quality of the cereal would be unaffected by the change. The supermarket said one brand was now being sold without a box and it was now look at extending the programme across other cereal ranges.
Potential problems to achieving this could be that different types of cereal could suffer from the added friction of being packaged in a bag only – with size, type and texture becoming important factors. It is understood the brand “Rice Pops” was chosen because the pieces are small, round and relatively solid.
Stuart Lendrum, Head of Print & Packaging, Sainsbury’s, said: “When it comes to cereal, our customers asked us why they need to be in a box as well as a bag when you can just print all the information on the bag. In response, we trialled cereals in a bag and a box, and we’ve now established that we can remove the box on ‘Rice Pops’ without affecting the quality of the cereal. This is now on shelf and we’re looking at other cereals where we might be able to do the same.”
Sainsbury’s added that all its cereal boxes were 100 per cent recyclable.
The company said it is exploring a packaging overhaul throughout its products. Changes to the way strawberries are boxed by using a heat-sealed wrap instead of a plastic lid will save 330 tonnes of plastic a year, said a Sainsbury’s statement.
As part of the initiative, supermarket has vowed to improve the recyclability of milk and yogurt containers, lightweight packing for pizza boxes, and do away with the cardboard outer sleeves on its ready meals. Packaging for meat will also be reduced by removing all plastic boxes and replacing them with vac/pac shrink wrap.