M&S claims ‘first’ with food-to-go reusable container scheme


Food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer says it is the first major grocery retailer to introduce a reusable container incentive for fresh food-to-go.

The initiative forms part of the retailer’s plan to reduce single-use packaging. The new scheme will incentivise customers to bring their own reusable containers to M&S’ Market Place by offering a 25p discount off each meal. 

The retailer says it wants to encourage a change in consumer behaviour and reduce the use of disposable items on the high street, as new research by IGD reveals the food-to-go sector is set to grow by 26.4% by 2024.

M&S’ Market Place concept is available in busy city centre stores and is used by over 70,000 people each week in 23 stores including London Pantheon on Oxford Street, Newcastle, Norwich and Manchester.

Paul Willgoss, director of food technology at M&S, says: “Our priority is to reduce single-use packaging and ensure any we do use can be reused or recycled, as we work towards our 2022 target for all our packaging to be widely recyclable. Food-to-go is a growing market; so finding solutions in this space is an important part of our wider plan. Our Market Place containers are already widely recyclable, but we want to go a step further with the introduction of an incentive to encourage customers to switch to reusable containers.”

The retailer already offers a 25p incentive for hot drinks served in reusable coffee cups – an initiative that was introduced in April 2018. 

As part of its plastic reduction plan, M&S has removed 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from across its business and is ‘working to ensure’ all its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022. This week M&S has launched a new, widely recyclable terracotta CPET tray to replace black plastic, starting in its Italian ready meals range. The retailer has pledged to completely remove all black plastic from its food business by the end of 2020.