This month marks Manchester-based Unicorn Grocery’s 21st year offering a range of affordable, fresh and wholesome food, with a focus on organic, fair trade and local sourcing.
And for the last 13 years the worker’s co-op has also been helping change the culture of bag use by offering its customers environmentally friendly reusable jute bags supplied by Jutexpo.
Each of the 250,000 specially designed carriers they have sold has a four-year lifespan and can reduce the need for 624 disposable plastic bags, creating a potential saving of up to 156 million plastic bags over the years.
To celebrate the anniversary and their relationship, Jutexpo and Unicorn Grocery held a special presentation at the store this month.
Jutexpo managing director Barrie Turner handed Unicorn Grocery a framed print featuring many of the slogans which have featured on the jute bags over the years. Jutexpo also designed a new organic cotton bag for Unicorn to mark its birthday.
“When we decided we wanted to introduce a bag for customers to reuse we had so many samples – different sizes and materials – but there was only one that stood out for our purposes and that was Jutexpo,” says the co-op’s director/grocer Kellie Bubble.
“We wanted to change the culture of bag use and we needed a bag substantial enough to get a whole load of groceries in, a bag that could deal with the weight of lots of tins and the space to fit in huge cauliflowers and the like. Once we found our bag all our members trialled it before we committed, it had to be fit for purpose and built to last.
“Unexpectedly the bags also ended up being a really useful way to promote Unicorn and issues that are important to us such as seasonality. When we first introduced the jute bags they had our logo on but pretty soon we got a little fed up of seeing our name everywhere so we decided to be a little more creative.“
Jutexpo supplies a wide range of clients, including supermarkets, charities and the public sector.