Asda, the UK unit of Wal-Mart, has announced that it aims to reduce its own label food packaging by 25% over the next 12 months by eliminating packaging on fresh fruit and vegetables. The move emulates “a traditional greengrocer shop from the 1950s,” the supermarket said.

Simultaneously, the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain said it intends to restrict the range of pre-packaged items on sale and cut the amount of plastic and cardboard used to wrap food products.

“We believe this return to traditional values could have a huge impact upon the amount of packaging thrown away every day. Reducing packaging is one of Asda’s key objectives, and we are considering every option to achieve this goal,” Asda’s Emma Sinclair-Morris commented.

A pilot scheme to test consumer reactions to this approach will be launched in two stores in the North West of England next week, the group said. Approximately 60 pre-pack products will be removed as part of the trial. If the trial is successful, the scheme will be rolled out to every Asda store across the UK.

“Some fragile items of fresh produce such as strawberries and raspberries will always require some degree of packaging for protection, but most items can be sold loose while preserving their high quality. This study will enable us to see if it is possible to encourage our customers to shop in a different manner to keep waste – and costs – to a minimum,” Sinclair-Morris said.

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