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M&S launches packaging free aisle with refill stations in sustainability trial at largest Food Hall

M&S has launched a refill aisle where customers can fill up their own containers with a range of produce including rice, pasta, cereals and nuts.

The packaging-free aisle is one of the features at the latest M&S Food Hall to be made over in the retailer’s store renewal programme.

The Hedge End Food Hall has grown to become M&S’s biggest, expanding from 15,000 sq ft to 25,000 sq ft by taking space from the store’s clothing department. It makes it 8,000 sq ft bigger than even the Hempstead Valley Food Hall in Kent, the first to get the renewal treatment last summer.

The Hedge End Food Hall, which opened in December, now occupies the entire store front as customers enter from the car park. Previously they would have arrived first in clothing.

Other products available from the refill stations include lentils, couscous, raisins, sultanas and chocolates. The loose products are priced 10% lower than the packaged alternative, according to M&S, and all are own label.

“We considered concessioning it but we always start by asking, ‘If we can’t do it, why?’” M&S Food MD Stuart Machin told The Grocer.

Customers without their own container can buy a reusable plastic one for £7.50. Alternatively, they can use a free paper bag.

Two weighing stations are provided where containers must be weighed twice, first empty and then filled. A member of staff stationed in the aisle to guide shoppers is one of several new roles at the store.


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