Supermarket chain Waitrose has reported that sales of loose vegetables increased by 75% following ‘significant sales growth’.
At the same time, sales of packaged equivalents have declined.
Over the past 10 months, sales of loose broccoli are up 8%, while sales of loose parsnips have risen by 6%. The latter comes after sales were in decline a year ago.
Sales of loose carrots and red potatoes are up by 21% and 23% respectively over the past two months, while sales of loose sprouts outperformed the packaged versions by 5%.
Fresh produce buyer for Waitrose & Partners, Paul Bidwell, said: “For the last 20 years the convenience of packaged produce has seen it outsell loose, but as consumers have become increasingly environmentally conscious and wanting to buy only what they need, we could be returning to how people used to shop with loose produce making a big comeback.
"We know we have a lot of work still to do to encourage customers to buy more loose fruit and vegetables, but there are signs we are seeing a shift in customer behaviour and we want to build on that momentum.”
The retailer has also confirmed that sales of refillables at its four Waitrose Unpacked shops are outselling packaged equivalents by 68%.
At the Botley Road shop in Oxford where the concept was first launched, past and long grain rice were outselling packaged equivalents by 37% and 78% respectively in June last year.
Waitrose Unpacked shops have an area which features dispensers for a series of dried products, frozen ‘pick and mix’, coffee, wine and beer refills, plus detergent and washing up liquid refillables.
The shops are part of a plan to make all Waitrose own-brand packaging reusable, widely recyclable or compostable by 2023.
The retailer has committed to reducing own-brand packaging, including plastics, by 33% by the same date. Further, 20% of plastic will be removed from own-brand ranges by the end of 2021.
Waitrose has also said that it will look to have branded and own-brand packaging using at least 30% recycled content by 2021, while also banning non-recyclable plastic from the same.