Coles customers have been left baffled by the supermarkets decision to sell Loose Fruit Hot Cross Buns in single plastic cases.
The individually wrapped Easter-themed treats were spotted for sale in the Melbourne Central location this week and described as a “plastic-fest” by one customer who shared the image with low-carbon lifestyle Facebook group 1 Million Women.
“Super depressing Coles,” the caption read along with an image of the buns each sold in individual plastic containers.
Amid growing awareness of Australia’s recycling crisis and the harmful impact plastic is having on the environment, many were perplexed about the decision. Multiple customers took to the Coles Facebook page in recent days questioning the plastic packaging for each bun.
“Pretty disappointed at Coles for this overuse of single use plastic,” one woman wrote to the supermarket chain Sunday.
Another woman said the issue was enough to make her shop elsewhere.
“I've shopped at Coles for 35 years but this is driving me away,” she wrote Sunday. “It might take more effort but I will abandon Coles and Woollies if you don't lift your game. Shame on you.”
Meanwhile the 1 Million Women group was keen to draw attention to the image, telling Coles “Your customers want you to do better with your environmental responsibilities.”
Followers of the group quickly responded, voicing their frustration over the supermarkets use of plastic packaging.
“I also am disappointed every time I go to Coles! So much bulky packaging,” one user responded.
“I bet you that if no one bought it, the practice would cease overnight,” another person wrote.
‘Leave it on the shelf’ pledge
The moderator of the group suggested that upset shoppers reignite its #Leaveitontheshelf campaign which encourages shoppers to pledge to boycott fruit and vegetables wrapped in excessive plastic, suggesting it be extended to the hot cross buns.
“If they try to sell us fruit and veg that’s pointlessly packaged, we’re going to leave it on the shelf and they won’t make money,” the website explains.
One member of the group described the image as something shoppers couldn’t ignore.
“This extreme case of stupidity by Coles will be shunned and boycotted by everyone with a shred of environmental conscious,” she wrote.
Some suggested Coles was simply responding to consumer demand but hundreds of people responded saying the choice of packaging was enough to prevent them from purchasing the item.
“Absolutely no way would I buy these!” one person wrote, echoing the comments of several others.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Coles spokesperson said the plastic-clad buns were only available in limited stores to give customers the option of purchasing single buns.
“The recyclable packaging keeps them fresh in stores where we don’t have single item display units where customers can pick them up using tongs,” the spokesperson said, adding that the packaging in question can be recycled in kerbside recycling bins.
“While this is not how our hot cross buns are generally packaged, to offer convenience a small number of stores have packed buns in this way. We are constantly reviewing our packaging to make it more environmentally friendly.”
It’s not the first time Coles has upset customers by changing the packaging on products, in January meat lovers were left confused by the introduction of rigid plastic packaging on individual steaks, which many customers said made it almost impossible to open.
Competitor Woolworths has also previously received backlash for the individual packaging of items such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
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