M&S extends its “fill your own” trial scheme, as 75% of consumers want to reduce plastic packaging


Marks & Spencer is to extend its trial of a refill scheme that enables shoppers to replenish their own food containers, after its research revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers said they were trying to reduce the amount of packaging they use.

The retailer’s initial trial of its “fill your own” scheme at its Hedge End store in Southampton, which offers 44 packaging-free products from coffee to confectionery, will be expanded this month to include a second store in Manchester city centre.

The results of a new survey found that the main barrier to refill schemes is finding retailers that offer them. This was cited by 38% of consumers, followed by 18% who highlightedthe need to carry containers around and the inconvenience of doing so. A perception that unpackaged items are more expensive was also mentioned.

Hailing the popularity of its Southampton experiment, M&S said 25 of the its 44 “fill your own” products were outselling the packaged alternatives. Bestsellers include its triple chocolate crunch cereal, whole porridge oats, basmati rice, milk chocolate raisins, single-origin Brazilian coffee and fiorelli pasta.

M&S’s director of food technology, Paul Willgoss, said: “Our ‘fill your own’ concept is one area we’re focusing on as part of our action to reduce plastic packaging and support our customers to reuse and recycle … We’re keen to better understand refill across the entire store process from behind the scenes operations to working with our customers to encourage behaviour change.”