- New Seasons Market said in an emailed press release on Tuesday it is turning to a more environmentally-friendly packaging option for its private label line of fresh pasta that it said will help extend shelf life and reduce plastic waste. The grocery chain will transition to the recyclable PaperSeal trays throughout April.
- Separately, Meijer announced on Tuesday it will host its first supplier summit focused on sustainability from June 20-23 as it aims to work with more vendors offering sustainable products. The retailer said its merchants are taking into account 38 different certifications on vendor products or their manufacturing and procurement processes, like seafood vendors following Best Aquaculture Practices.
- The efforts by New Seasons and Meijer are the newest examples of how grocers are placing more emphasis on product and packaging sustainability.
New Seasons said its packaging switch will eliminate more than 120,000 plastic clamshells annually, and that it will be the first retailer in the U.S. to use PaperSeal’s “MAP trays."
Each tray, which is recyclable after the food-safe liner is taken out, uses 91% less plastic than the grocer’s current packaging, according to the announcement. Along with being recyclable, the trays extend shelf life from 12 to 20 days, which can help prevent food waste by giving customers a longer window of time to consume the food, New Seasons said.
New Seasons said it invested in equipment for two of its local Portland, Oregon-based suppliers to allow for the packaging switch. The chain also said it will start accepting shoppers' #1 PET plastic at its in-store recycling centers by Earth Day (April 22).
For Meijer, its upcoming sustainability supplier summit is looking for vendors across a range of categories, from pet food to groceries to home goods.
The summit will be hosted virtually in collaboration with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) and its subsidiary product discovery tool, RangeMe. Certified vendors with retail-ready products have until April 26 to apply. Meijer will review and select vendor applicants to meet with at the summit, noting suppliers not picked will still have the chance to get reviewed by Meijer merchants in the future through RangeMe.
In its announcement, the Midwestern retail chain said a recent survey found that sustainable sourcing and expanding its assortment of sustainable brands are top priorities for its customers.
New Seasons and Meijer positioned their announcements as the latest steps they are taking as part of ongoing sustainability goals. New Seasons is working to slash its food waste by 50% through 2030 and achieve a 60% landfill diversion rate.
Meanwhile, Meijer said it already has "thousands of sustainable and clean products" on its shelves, noting that it rolled out its first sustainable private label clothing brand last year. The retailer has also been working to cut out single-use packaging, support sustainable fishing practices and promote local products as part of its "Better Products" sourcing initiative.