Coles announces innovative bread aisle move: 'Number one concern'

·4-min read

Coles has announced they will be trialling the replacement of plastic bread tags with new cardboard tags that are made from 100 per cent paper-based recycled content for their own brand bread.

The trial, which began in June this year and is set to be rolled out nationally in 2022, applies to 254 varieties of Coles Own Brand bread, including both in-store baked bread and pre-packaged loaves.

The announcement comes as part of Coles’ aim to be “Australia’s most sustainable supermarket”, with the supermarket giant confirming that once rolled out nationally the initiative will divert 79 tonnes of plastic from landfill each year.

Coles General Manager of Bakery, Deli and Seafood Andy Mossop said the initiative is aligned with Coles’ Together to Zero waste goal, which is one of the focus areas of its new sustainability strategy.

Hand holds new Coles cardboard bread tag in bread aisle.
Coles to replace plastic tags with recyclable paper-based tags on own brand bread. Source: Coles Group

“At Coles, we are committed to reducing single-use plastic and we want to ensure wherever possible that we work with our suppliers to make our packaging recyclable and made with recycled content,” said Mr Mossop.

Mr Mossop said the decision came following a recent survey of customers, who told Coles that reducing plastic waste was the “number one concern” for them when it came to environmental issues in retail.

“We are proud that this move towards cardboard bread tags means all components of our Coles Own Brand soft-plastic bread packaging will become recyclable,” he said.

Although customers can recycle the cardboard tags in kerbside recycle bins, they will need to first place them in a paper or cardboard product, such as a used envelope or a paper bag. This is to ensure the tag doesn’t get lost in the recycling process.

Front of Coles supermarket showing sustainability signs. Source: Getty Images
By 2025, Coles plans to be the Australia's most sustainable supermarket. Source: Getty Images

Coles is working together with its bakery partners, including Goodman Fielder, on the move to sustainable bread tags.

Mick Anderson, Head of Sustainability for Goodman Fielder said he was proud to partner with Coles to reduce the impact of plastic waste.

"Our new cardboard bread tags, which will be used on Coles Own Brand pre-packaged loaves, are durable and have undergone rigorous testing and development,” said Mr Anderson.

"We have used material which is high-quality, ensuring both strength and flexibility to keep bread bags tied, in line with customer expectations."

Coles making strides to reduce plastic and waste

Coles isn't just stopping at bread tags, the supermarket also plans to replace the packaging of some of its most popular in-store bakery items with packaging made from 100 per cent recycled content by 2022.

The supermarket giant says that the change will apply to 60 million pieces of packaging each year on in-store bakery products, such as cookies, donuts, danishes and muffins.

The new packaging will be made from 100 per cent Recycled PET, which requires less energy to manufacture than virgin PE – to further reduce their environmental footprint.

Already in 2021, Coles has made good on its pledge to make packaging more sustainable by removing 36 million soaker pads from meat trays and saving them from landfill.

Additionally, Coles ceased selling single-use plastic tableware products in July in a bid to divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic annually. This includes cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery.

Coles joins TipTop and Helga’s in eco-friendly change

Coles joins the likes of iconic bread brands TipTop and Helga’s with their move toward sustainable tags.

Other major companies including Abbott's Bakery have already followed suit.

Both TipTop and Helgas pledged to eliminate plastic tags as part of their sustainability initiatives, with TipTop rolling out their 100 per cent recycled and recyclable tags across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. They will be used nationally in the next two years.

It’s an Australian first for TipTop, which will see ​​400 million plastic pieces removed from national waste each year as it is rolled out across Australia and New Zealand.

Graeme Cutler, Director of Sales and CSR Lead at Tip Top ANZ, said the reason they had introduced the change was simple: “We’re doing it because it’s simply the right thing to do.”

“And, when it comes to working together as a nation to eliminate single-use plastics, we want to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, Helga’s announced they’ll be introducing their 100 per cent recyclable cardboard bread tags across its range in September, as part of their latest step toward sustainability for the brand.

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