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14 FEATURE


MARKET TRADER, JULY 19 - AUGUST 1, 2019


Market By Roger Mills & Partners


Back to the future – or copying the gaffs?


A press release popped up the other day with the intriguing heading ‘Waitrose & Partners unpacks a unique plan for future ways of shopping’.


Intriguing? Well yes as I simply wondered what future ways there could be short of having wine piped straight into a vein through the internet or barking the order ‘just pop out and get me a packet of Senior Service’


to some device


which spends the rest of its time logging how many times you scratch your head and feeding the data back to GCHQ. The future, as it was never predicted in Dan Dare Pilot of the Future, it seemed


to me was already here. Curious then I read on to


be informed of Waitrose (& of course Partners) offering; “A dedicated refillable zone, the UK’s first supermarket frozen ‘pick and mix’ and first borrow-a-box scheme are among a series of ideas being looked at in a unique test, which have the potential to save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging.


“The test is designed to help


determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future. The retailer has therefore transformed its Botley Road shop in Oxford and taken hundreds of products out of their packaging.”


Reading on though the


‘bright new dawn’ aspect of the idea seemed to melt away to be replaced by ‘back the future’. The list included 1) loose fruit and vegetable products. 2) Plastic wrap off all flowers and indoor plants and replaced with paper. 3) Reusable bottles 4) Dry goods like pasta, rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds available loose 5) Soft fruit in cardboard with optional lids. Anyway a spokesman for Waitrose and I assume the Partners said: “It will be fas- cinating to see which con- cepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”


Reflections Waitrose and Partners are implementing... Me? I’m waiting for the


return of loose biscuits where you could go along the row of glass topped cabinets and pick just the assortment you wanted. Now that would be back to the future in the right way!


But yes you’re right consumers (and their partners!) are being offered the experience of shopping that they had before all the packaging they never asked for was imposed on them by the multiples. And why was it imposed? Answer – you can’t put a barcode on a cabbage. Punters & partners buying


only what they need – perish the thought. I suppose we should welcome moves to cut back on non recyclable packaging especially black plastic. One just wishes firms would merely do it rather than making a song and dance about it and admit just why this superfluous packaging we can all do without was introduced by them in the first place. What


though was


struck me most how the


greengrocery offer would so closely resemble that of a decent market stall how the


lose goods Raymond Peters shop of my childhood. The result no doubt of continuous development using focus groups and the like could equally well have been generated by simply walking on to the nearest gaff. Our environmentally friendliness in the widest sense could and indeed should be part of the next LYLM message.


Unhappy as a Sandwell? Sometimes a headline will make you sit up and look. One such was the recent ‘Angry market


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