Supermarket sweep

Environmental campaigners are taking a new broom to plastic food packaging

“Come in plastic, your time is up!”

That’s the message being sent to the food and drink packaging industry by activists who want to see a world free of plastic. Although ridding the planet of the cheap, convenient wrappings that are so ubiquitous in all our kitchens seems like one mountain of an uphill task, campaigners scored a big victory this week in the Netherlands.

British-based A Plastic Planet has teamed up with Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza to launch the world’s first plastic-free aisle. Featuring the ‘innovative compostable biomaterials’ that the chain has found as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, the aisle at Ekoplaza LAB in Amsterdam could be the first of many to come.

Increasing the viability of plastic-free

The company aims to roll out the pop-up aisle to its other Netherlands stores later this year and, with at least 680 organic products available in this first example, they are clearly committed to making plastic-free a viable option for its customers. We are delighted to have the founder, Sian Sutherland, as a judge in this year's FoodTalk Awards, too.

Determined to challenge the idea that plastic is essential to the 21st century food and drink industry, A Plastic Planet hopes to set an example to supermarkets everywhere - and inspire consumers to vote with their feet – well, with their shopping baskets.

Taking the idea forward

Although campaigners assert that the idea is a feasible, scalable one, how realistic is this vision without further innovation? Packaging manufacturers with the passion and talent to craft a plastic-free future must step up and show the world what they can do. Otherwise customers might be checking out at the tills without checking out the environmentally friendly aisle.

Are you taking the pain out of packaging by developing smart alternatives to plastic? Drop the FoodTalk Show team a line on and share your story, or find out how else to get in touch. Alternatively, listen to Steve Malkin, founder of The Planet Mark, as he discusses what we can do to be more sustainable on one of our recent podcasts.

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