German retailer Rewe Group has pledged to remove plastic packaging from its cucumbers, saving up to 160,000 kilograms of plastic per year.
The retailer said in a statement that it is working with 'all players in the supply chain' to develop new transport processes that will enable cucumbers to be sold unpackaged in its stores even outside of the nine-month German growing season.
As the retailer noted, the thin plastic film on cucumbers takes on an important protective function against dehydration and damage, as cucumbers are comprised of around 97% water.
"When it comes to saving on plastic and packaging, we keep an eye on the entire supply chain. The basic requirement is always that the quality of the products is preserved during storage and transport," commented Rewe Group's fresh merchandise director Eugenio Guidoccio.
"In extreme weather conditions, it may be necessary in exceptional cases to protect the cucumbers with a thin shrink film to prevent premature spoilage. However, the Rewe and Penny store managers can assume that at least 95 percent of cucumbers can be offered unpacked throughout the season."
The move forms part of Rewe Group's overall strategy to remove plastic packaging from its own-brands where possible, or switch to recyclable materials.
By the end of 2025, Rewe and Penny intend to use a total of 20% less plastic in their own-label packaging, and by the end of 2020 to use only certified raw materials for paper packaging.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine