Our 75% Less Plastic Study
In April 2021, we conducted a study to compare the packaging used in our most popular, weekly, organic Fruit & Veg Box (our Medium Fruit & Veg Box), versus the packaging used for the same organic produce from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Waitrose. We wanted to see how much plastic, paper and other forms of packaging were being used by each of these supermarkets.
We ordered our Medium Fruit & Veg Boxes across four consecutive weeks (from 5th – 30th April 2021). Knowing what would be arriving in our boxes on these dates, we were able to order the same produce online from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Waitrose.
To ensure that the study was as fair as possible, we selected produce for comparison in the following priority order:
1. Where there was an organic, supermarket brand option available, this was selected first.
2. Where there was no organic, supermarket brand option available, the closest organic option (in terms of weight) was chosen.
Where there were two items of the same weight available, the cheapest, organic option was chosen. In the small number of cases where there was no organic version of the produce available, we ordered the non-organic version that was the closest in terms of weight.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Waitrose all offer the option to have produce delivered without plastic bags, while we deliver in returnable, reusable carboard boxes. For this reason, we did not measure the in-transit packaging used in each delivery. Instead, we only weighed the packaging of each individual foodstuff, i.e. we weighed the wrapping that apples were packed in, rather than the plastic bag that the shop was delivered in.
COLLATING THE DATA
Over the four weeks, we weighed all of the produce on the same set of digital scales, which were set up in the same place each week. We weighed all of the packaging in grams, to the nearest 0.5g. Our weights and measurements included all food labels and any use of elastics.
All types of plastic packaging were grouped together under the collective heading of ‘plastic’. Some of the plastic samples compared in the study had a ‘home compostable’ label. But as recycling and composting varies widely depending on the council collecting the packaging, we have treated all of these supermarket packaging samples, including our own, as plastic.
The following items were compared over four weeks. For complete transparency, we have highlighted where we were unable to secure exact matches for our products; either by virtue of the produce from other supermarkets not being organic, a like-for-like substitution, or both.
Below are the week-by-week results of our study, which recorded the following metrics: the total weight of plastic (g), the total weight of paper (g), the total weight of other packaging (g), the total weight of all packaging combined, the total count of pieces of packaging, and the total count of pieces of plastic.
TOTAL RESULTS: 5TH – 30TH APRIL 2021
Below are the final results, calculated by combining the totals accrued for each supermarket over this four-week period.
We’re so proud to be able to say that, according to the results of our comparative study, there’s 75% less plastic in our organic Fruit & Veg Boxes. If you’re inspired to make a switch to a more sustainable food delivery, you can find everything you need to vote with your fork, right here.
Published May 2021