Dear Sainsbury’s – their response

A few weeks back I posted a copy of an email I sent to the UK supermarket chain ‘Sainsbury’s’ about the excessive packaging of fresh fruit and veg in their stores.

I received a reply. Β I think you’ll agree it’s disastrously inadequate and only shows how little Sainsbury’s in fact care about the environment. How can I be reassured when every visit to their supermarket I find fewer and fewer items available loose and unpackaged?


My email:


Dear Sainsburys,

ARGH. Is all I can open with. Have you walked, recently, with open eyes into your fruit and vegetable section? PACKAGING. On almost everything. Non-recyclable film and endless clear trays. Yes, the trays are recyclable, but what energy is used in their manufacture, and re-manufacture? And how many of your customers really and truly care enough to even bother putting them in the recycling? Not many, I can assure you.

Last time I went to Sainsbury’s I was left with one choice of tomatoes if I wanted to avoid packaging. My daughter asked for small tomatoes, I had to refuse. Some people have to bother to make a stand on these things. I want a planet left for the grandchildren I hope I have one day. Do you want one for yours?

It’s up to corporations like Sainsbury’s to lead the way. What was wrong with gorgeous piles of delicious veg for us to choose from? We don’t need you to decide that we want ten little tomatoes, let us dive into a delightful pile and have eleven. The French seem to manage okay with this style of shopping along with many other cultures.

And packets, packets, packets of croissant and pancakes etc etc.

Hooray – I bought a new roll of biodegradable caddy liners the other day and the packaging had actually been reduced. But that was in cardboard before, not layers of plastic. A drop in a very, very large flood.

We love Sainsbury’s outdoor bred pork sausages but I wince each time I buy them in their black plastic tray. Here in Bristol we have pretty good recycling, but they can’t take black plastic. That’s all your ‘premium’ products I need to avoid buying too.

I’d like to know what you’re doing to reduce, seriously reduce, the packaging in your products. It’s ridiculous in 2014 that companies like Sainsbury’s are using more, not less, packaging. We know better. Please do better.

Yours faithfully,

Naomi Madelin

Emailed to Sainsbury’s 27th August 2014.


Sainsbury’s response received 29th August:


Dear Ms Madelin

Thank you for your email about the packaging on our products. I can understand your concerns about the amount of packaging on our fruit and vegtables.

We also share your concerns about the effects of plastic on the environment and, for a number of years, have been focused on reducing our packaging. One of our aims, as part of our 20×20 Sustainability Plan, is to reduce it by half compared to 2005.

Each time we review a product, we also review the packaging. The challenge we face is to reduce packaging without sacrificing its importance and effectiveness on the freshness and safety of our products. Most importantly, it must protect the product for our customers and then, where possible, use recyclable material.

At the same time, we want to help our customers to recycle. To do this we use the on-pack recycling label scheme supported by WRAP. This aims to deliver a simple, UK-wide recycling message on both own brand and branded products.

I am grateful to you for writing to us about this important issue and I hope I have been able to reassure you of our commitment to the environment.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine McGuinness

Customer Manager

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd


One thought on “Dear Sainsbury’s – their response

  1. Pingback: So I said…. | Jumping Off Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s