Asda has been struggling to “attract families” to their four refill stores, Asda’s senior commercial manager Paul Garner said at the 2022 Food and Drink Expo.
During the Reuse Revolution panel talk on 25 April at the Expo, Garner revealed that Asda had no short-term plans to expand its refill range as “penetration of customers [were] very low”.
The Big 4 Grocer admitted to attracting “pre and post family” demographics but rarely any families as the retailer explains consumers have “70 years of shopping to unlearn”.
As we reach Stop Food Waste Day, Garner outlines that shoppers are hesitant to use eco refills due to “price, fear and hygiene”.
At the core of tackling this is education he says, customers are unaware that Asda’s refill products come at the same price as single use goods, and are also unsure how to operate the machines.
Additionally, shoppers are unaware that refill models are not only beneficial to reduce plastic packaging but also to control portion sizes to minimise food waste at home.
As a result, the grocer’s ambitions concerns coincide with Stop Food Waste Day’s campaign to tackle food waste by reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goal to halve food waste by 2030.
The comments come after Asda opened its fourth refill store in Milton Keynes in November 2021 following the launch of its flagship store in Leeds in October and the opening in Toryglen, Glasgow and York.
Currently, the Milton Keynes branch stocks over 70 branded and own-brand products including dry products such as grains and wet prefill products which are predominantly from Unilever.
“We need to educate shoppers on the functionality and benefits of refill stores,” Garner concluded, “there is still a lot of work to get people aware.”