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Thornton’s Budgens tackle plastic-free produce with help of HL – while growing sales and reducing waste

The reduction of food and plastic waste continues to be a heavy focus for supermarkets and retailers across the UK. One community-driven store in North London aims to help enable their shoppers to lead more sustainable lives.

In 2018, Thornton Budges became one of the first shops in the world to introduce plastic-free zones, offering customers over 1,700 products in plastic-free packaging.

The packaging of items, which included bread, cheese and chilled products, were sold in alternative materials to coincide with their aim to become ‘virtually plastic-free’ within three years.  

Thornton’s Budgens is a business that has always put sustainability at the forefront of its brand purpose. They continue to tackle the reduction of food and plastic waste, and the next stages have seen the Camden Belsize Park store turn to HL to provide an alternative solution to their fresh produce display. 

The aim was to utilise a new shelving solution within the produce department which would enable them to display fruit and vegetables loose, without packaging and without reducing the shelf life of the products.

Sigma™ showcases abundant-looking produce without the need for a large inventory. Made of anodised silver, Sigma™ allows for more significant recirculation of cool air, keeping products at the optimum temperate for longer shelf life.

Sigma™’s performance in this Thornton’s Budgens store has certainly outweighed their expectations. The customer reported a sales uplift of 9% in fresh produce during the first month, and importantly waste was reduced by 15%.

Talking about the success of Sigma™, Kate Agvarska, Facilities and Operations Manager at Thornton’s Budgens said: “Shoppers like the new presentation of the produce very much. The display looks fresher, and the smaller displays maintain the look for longer. At the same time, from our point of view as a retailer, smaller displays help with stock control, and it has reduced our wastage. It is easier to keep the produce clean & tidy as well.”

Before:

After:

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Solution installed at Thornton's Budgens