M&S ‘banana bundle’ reflects emerging demand to tackle food wastage

M&S’s introduction of a banana bundle, that would see it selling a minimum of three extra ripe bananas and two recipe cards for 25p, could appeal to 35% of shoppers in the UK who are interested in purchasing socially-responsible products* and are willing to make purchases that are aligned with the sustainability trend, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Khalid Peerbaccus, Senior Innovation Researcher, comments: “The move follows the recent initiative by Waitrose to ban children’s magazines that have plastic disposable toys – both initiatives, importantly, are trying to attract the attention of environmentally conscious consumers. With many shoppers looking to reduce their household food waste, some may wonder why this did not happened sooner; after all, it is estimated that supermarkets contribute to 240,000 tonnes of food wastage per year**.

“Perhaps the main reason for this is the fear that products that appear less than perfect may harm the brand image or are perceived as less tasty. Consumers are becoming wiser to the idea that an ‘imperfect’ appearing product can still yield the same flavor and health benefits; and the addition of recipe cards further provides encouragement for the consumer to look beyond the outward appearance and more toward the versatility of the product while promoting an idea of reuse and sustainability rather than wastage.”

According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q1 consumer survey, 30% of UK shoppers’ product choices are always or often influenced by how the world around them is changing*. The pandemic has shone a light on supply chain disruptions, and as a result, food shortages cannot be ignored.

Peerbaccus continues: “The prevention of food wastage could become a topic that is as big as recycling and encourage other categories to reassess the best before dates on their packaging and question whether the product can be touted for further use even after the best before indication. While recycling takes up a lot of thought in terms of the environmental responsibility of the consumer, the often-overlooked food waste issue is late in being addressed in this way. Nevertheless, the initiative has been branded a success for M&S and shows that consumers are willing to do their bit in helping to cut down on wastage.

“The move by M&S is one that may be adopted by other supermarkets and may encourage further perishables to be sold in a similar way. It will likely help to reshape consumers’ thinking patterns when it comes to best before dates and how to make the most of food rather than throwing it out after it has lost its shape. This offers new potential revenue streams for farmers and producers, as well as being a budget friendly option for the price conscious shopper – a win-win for FMCG.”

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