GoUnpackaged Simon Browning January 5, 2017



Creating a Circular Economy and Collaborative Partnerships

Brands and retailers are responsible for billions of single-use plastic packaging introduced into the market each year. Instead of relying on unnecessary and harmful single-use packaging, they must find alternative solutions that protect the environment.

GoUnpackaged was formed to help establish a circular economic solution, which promotes reusable packaging whilst changing consumers’ perceptions towards packaging waste and their shopping behaviours. To achieve this goal, GoUnpackaged needed the collaboration and knowledge of multiple retailers, manufacturing suppliers and industry experts to unify multiple systems and ideas into a single interoperable format that could be scalable. As part of the early coalition, Recipe Design helped determine the creative vision and set the foundations for a functional and intuitive shopping experience.

Introducing an in-aisle refill system is a groundbreaking step towards reducing the use of single-use packaging in grocery shopping. This revolutionary system will radically change current supply chain practices and encourage a culture of reuse. The system involves using a refillable bulk vessel for both dry and wet food suppliers, thereby helping to establish a global standard for refills in supermarkets.

The Refill Coalition was convened by GoUnpackaged in 2020 and includes Aldi UKOcado Retail, and the supply chain solutions company CHEP.

The Coalition’s vessel will facilitate three innovative new solutions:

  • An in-store refill system for dry goods, now launched with Aldi UK in its Solihull store
  • A tareless* weighing system and liquids dispense, in development for launch next year
  • A bulk home delivery refill solution, being launched by Ocado Retail early next year.

There is strong customer appetite for alternative choices when it comes to packaging. Research shows that 67% - 85% of UK adults would try refilling if it was available in a mainstream supermarket**, across all demographics, spend profiles and locations; and 73% of those who shop online***.

Designed to become a global standard, the solution can be used by any supplier or retailer, reducing costs, food waste and increasing the number of store types that can sell refills. This will enable fast adoption by industry to make refills available to every customer in the UK. 

* Tareless meaning consumers don’t have to weigh their own container before refilling 

** Opinium Research (2020) Sustainability and the Supermarket

*** IDG (2021) How to help consumers adopt reusable packaging.