As part of its new refill strategy, Asda has unveiled a new “refill price promise” that ensures each refill product will be less expensive than packaged alternatives.
Refill was first offered by the supermarket two years ago, and since then, it has been continuously testing and learning, working with customers to determine what appeals to them the most.
With funding from Innovate UK, Asda collaborated with WRAP and Unilever to identify customer participation barriers so that it could consider ways to improve participation.
The supermarket adopted a new refill pricing strategy because the need for clear pricing was of the utmost importance and was highlighted by the cost of living crisis. More customer communication and a focus on four key categories—cereals, pet food, store cupboard (including snacks, tea, and coffee), and rice, pasta, and pulses—have also led to changes as a result of other key objectives that were developed based on the barriers identified—combat uncertainty and apprehension and make the experience fun and enjoyable.
At its refill stores in Middleton (Leeds), Toryglen (Glasgow), York, and Milton Keynes, Cadbury’s Giant Buttons, Maynards Wine Gums, Harringtons, and Wagg pet food will all be introduced. Customers can bring their own containers or purchase reusable containers in-store for use.
The following features and goods will be adopted by the stores:
• Four dry refill bays that featured popular cereals like Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Bran Flakes, and Coco Pops, as well as newly added varieties like Extra Special Cherry & Berry Museli and Triple Choco Crisp from Asda.
• A rice and pasta section with Asda-branded rice and Napolina pasta, as well as a store cupboard section with items like almonds, Yorkshire Tea, Taylor’s of Harrogate coffee, Maynards Wine Gums, Cadbury’s Giant Buttons, Haribo Jelly Beans, and rhubarb and custard.
• A pet store with Iams dog and cat food as well as Dreamies Cat Treats, Chappie, Pedigree, Harrington’s dog food, Wagg and Chappies dog food, and bird food. (In Toryglen, pet food will be installed the following year)
• Continue using Unilever prefill products like CIF eco refill at home, Alberto Balsam and Simple hand wash prefills, Radox shower gel, and Alberto Balsam hand wash refills.
• A new, lowest-priced reusable bag went on sale for 10p after customers complained that carrying back multiple containers is too cumbersome.
“We know the cost of living crisis is having a big impact on our customers, so it’s important we recognise this in the refill space through our’refill price promise’ and ensure customers are getting an even better deal,” said Susan Thomas, Asda Senior Director of Sustainable Commercial Activity. In addition to being more affordable, refill enables customers to purchase only the quantity they require, assisting them in sticking to budgets and minimizing food waste at home.
Asda’s three largest refill zones in York, Middleton, and Milton Keynes will introduce new product lines to help customers reduce energy at home and save money, promote reusable containers for lunchtimes, reduce food waste, and shop more sustainably with products like coffee and chocolate that have Rainforest Alliance accreditation. Customers are looking at a number of ways they can reduce their environmental impact beyond refill.
Reuse and refill will be crucial in helping us break our dependence on single-use plastic and transition to a circular economy for plastics, according to Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP. We have learned a lot from the research we conducted in collaboration with Asda and Unilever, and these insights are helping us to better understand what is required to encourage customers to reuse and refill products and to keep them coming back. Asda is demonstrating how to make this a simple and affordable process, which is something we are aware we need to do. They deserve praise for setting an example in terms of reuse and refill, and we anticipate seeing supermarkets and brands take additional steps to implement this crucial system change.
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