UK sales of fruit juice & water in plastic bottles are down

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Sales of plastic water bottles is down says Paymentsense. Photo: WRAP UK.
Sales of plastic water bottles is down says Paymentsense. Photo: WRAP UK.
Sales of fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic and fruit juice and water in plastic bottles in the UK have fallen, according to Paymentsense.

The company carried out research which found over half (54%) of small retailers have seen sales of plastic packaged goods fall over the last six months. 

Awareness is growing

The research also underlines how shoppers purchasing habits are evolving, thanks to increased awareness of plastic waste.

Our study shows how changing consumer behaviour is starting to have an impact on the UK’s small retailers​,” said Guy Moreve, CMO, Paymentsense.

Public awareness has increased around the issue, and pressure to reduce or eliminate plastics from products and packaging has grown significantly​. 

Movements like the UK Plastics pact are gaining traction, as businesses and industry work towards a more circular approach to protect the environment​.”

In the survey, almost half (49%) of small retailers surveyed said the number of customers requesting products without packaging has increased over the last six months. 

Over a third (36%) reported consumers are now buying more unwrapped goods and using their own bags or containers to transport them. 

Impact on revenues

Nearly a quarter (23%) said they had seen a growth in customers requesting products with plastic-free packaging.

The trend is having an impact on revenues. The small retailers surveyed said they had noticed an associated drop in takings of 3.6%, on average. 

In response to these shifting consumer priorities, and as the zero-waste movement gains traction, many small retailers are already making changes. 

Over four in 10 (41%) said they have started stocking unpacked or loose goods as well as introducing lines with plastic-free packaging within the last six months.

Almost a third (30%) are now recycling more, and a quarter (25%) no longer sell drinks with built-in plastic straws.

Small retailers’ consumer blacklist
- Fruit & vegetables wrapped in plastic (highlighted as down by 44% of small retailers)
- Fruit juice in plastic bottles (43%)
- Water in plastic bottles (39%)
- Plastic cutlery (26%)
- Plastic straws (26%)
- Drinks sold with plastic straws (25%)
- Soft drinks in plastic bottles (24%)
- Tea bags (23%)
- Cling film (17%)
- Frozen food with plastic packaging (14%)

*Data from 291 small UK retail businesses. Research took place in July 2018.

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