Coles confirms Stikeez return – but with one distinct difference

After much speculation, Coles has confirmed they are bringing back a popular range of collectables with promises they are more sustainable.

After reports emerged they would be returning, Coles officially confirmed the Fresh Stikeez collectables would be coming back, this time with 24 new characters to collect and a new healthy eating program to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables.

For every $30 spent in a single transaction at a Coles supermarket, Coles Express or Coles Online, customers will be able to pick up a Stikeez figurine from Wednesday.

Coles has announced a new round of its controversial Stikeez collectibles promotion. They are pictured in this photo.
Coles has announced Stikeez will be available from February 12, after much speculation. Source: Coles

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia, in addition to the 24 Stikeez, there will be four rare figurines to collect.

“Four of Coles’ rare Stikeez include a glittery Connor Corn, a glow-in-the-dark Chip Cheese, a bronze Ella Egg and a silver Buster Burger,” the spokesperson said.

In the past supermarket collectables have been criticised for contributing to waste, but this collection promises to be sustainable and Coles has teamed up with a Victorian-based, sport shoe recycling pilot program, Save Our Soles.

The photo shows four rare Stikeez collectibles.
In addition to the 24 Stikeez to collect, there are four rare Stikeez (pictured) customers should be on the lookout for. Source: Coles

“We wanted to bring Stikeez and a healthy eating initiative back, but in a more sustainable way. Customers can now return any duplicate, old and spare Stikeez back to Coles supermarkets to be recycled,” Coles Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson said in a press release.

“They’re also wrapped in responsibly sourced paper that’s fully recyclable in kerbside recycling bins at home.”

Save Our Soles founder John Elliott said it was “good to see” Aussies cared about reducing their waste, adding the program was “delighted” to work alongside Coles for this campaign.

“We have just launched a sporting industry recycling program with the Australia Sporting Goods Association and anticipate that we will save approximately 250,000 pairs of sports shoes going to landfill in 2020,” Mr Elliot said.

“It’s great news that Stikeez can be recycled in the same way. We reduce the product to a 4mm crumb, then mixed with recycled Australian tyres to create products like anti-fatigue mats, gym matting, retail flooring and carpet underlay.”

Jogn Elliot, from the Save Our Soles, is pictured holding the new Stikeez.
Jogn Elliot, from the Save Our Soles initiative, says it's great customers are concerned about sustainability. Source: Coles

Ms Ronson said customers used Stikeez as a way to encourage children to eat more fresh produce.

“Our research showed that 31 per cent of customers who collected the first Stikeez range increased their purchases of fruit and vegetables, and 50 per cent bought a wider variety of fresh produce,” she said.

“Kids who had never touched broccoli or tasted a fresh tomato found it fun to challenge themselves to eat foods of all colours of the rainbow.”

The collectables are just one part of the supermarket’s initiative to get children to eat more healthy.

The toys which have names such as Abby Avocado, Benji Bread and Chloe Cauliflower are part of the Coles Fresh 5 Challenge.

Children can use a specially-designed place mat to track what food groups they are eating by adding their Stikeez collectables to the placemat, which acts like a reward system.

Pictured is the new Coles' Stikeez Fresh Friends collection.
The Stikeez Fresh Friends collection goes hand-in-hand with the Fresh 5 Challenge at the Coles. Source: Hanna Lassen/Getty Images for Coles

The placemats are free and available in the fresh produce section at Coles supermarkets or they can be printed out through the supermarket’s website.

In January this year, popular Facebook page Foodie Mamma Ren revealed Coles would be relaunching the collectables.

At the time, it wasn’t confirmed the supermarket would be bringing back the collectables, but “a very reliable contact high up in Coles” passed on the information which turned out to be very accurate.

When Foodie Mama Ren made the announcement on January 30, not everyone was excited.

“Still finding the little choking hazards in odd places,” one person said.

“Still trying to bin them.”

“I find these everywhere, I even found one down at the river,” another said.

Stikeez did end up in some bizarre places, including Hamilton Island, which does not even have a Coles store.

In 2019, when approached for comment on the Stikeez range, a Coles spokesperson said the collectables were designed for customers to “keep for a long time”.

“The Stikeez are collectable items and designed for customers to keep and not dispose of,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can choose not to receive them and for those who do we hope they enjoy them for a long time into the future. Collectable cases are also available for purchase to ensure the collectables can be displayed and kept.”

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