Waitrose makes canny move with removal of plastic on bestselling staple foods

Monday 14 October 2019

Waitrose is trialling the removal of plastic on thousands of multibuy cans as it continues to remove and reduce single use plastic. 

The plastic wrap, which is used to keep three or four cans attached for convenience,  will be entirely removed from some of the retailer’s canned vegetables. The move will save 18 tonnes of plastic* that cannot currently be recycled. 

The top four bestselling staples were prioritised for the plastic removal as they sell in the largest quantities, including: essential Waitrose baked beans, chopped tomatoes, plum tomatoes and sweetcorn. If successful, the wrap will be removed on further canned products. 

Customers will now be able to buy the same cans loose but will continue to pay the lower price for buying in bulk. If a customer purchases the same amount of loose tins - a multibuy purchase will be charged on checkout systems. 

  • essential Waitrose chopped tomatoes in juice - 4x400g for £1.50
  • essential Waitrose baked beans - 4x400g for £1.10 
  • essential Waitrose plum tomatoes - 4x400g for £1.50
  • essential Waitrose sweetcorn crisp and sweet - 3x160g for £1.40

Karen Graley, Packaging Manager, Waitrose & Partners, said: “We know shoppers like the convenience of buying a few cans at a time as store cupboard essentials but we want to remove single use plastic wherever we can. By selling the cans loose but at multibuy prices, we’ll be able to pass the cost saving on to customers - without passing on the plastic.”

*18 tonnes of plastic annually



  • We are determined to make all our own-brand packaging widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable. We will have identified solutions for all our packaging by 2020 and will meet our target by 2023.
  • 85% of the plastic in our own-brand product packaging is already widely recyclable.  
  • We’ve launched a number of packaging firsts, including the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging, saving 158 tonnes of black plastic.
  • Waitrose & Partners has recently announced it was  extending its ‘Unpacked’ test in Oxford and has committed to introducing elements of the concept into three more shops by the end of the year, after an overwhelmingly positive response. The retailer transformed its Botley Road shop in June taking more than 200 products out of their packaging to test how customers might be prepared to shop differently, with the aim of saving thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic. Unpacked now forms part of the new look store in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and in Abingdon and Wallingford, both in Oxfordshire, from November.
  • The supermarket will remove black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019. 
  • We have replaced loose fruit and veg bags with home compostable alternatives and we have removed 5p single-use carrier bags.
  • By Christmas 2020, its own label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers and plants will either be glitter-free or the retailer will use an environmentally friendly alternative.


Waitrose & Partners

Hannah Chance
Partner & Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: 01344 826804
Email: hannah.chance@waitrose.co.uk