Green Supermarket Memory

On the thorny subject of recycling and supermarket food packaging I was reminded of a large local supermarket that attempted to pre-empt today’s excess packaging concerns by offering unpackaged food items such as rice, cereals etc in a no-frills, no packaging area of the store where customers bought their own storage receptacles such as Tupperware etc (ahGateway store tupperware) and paid directly at the no-fills area. I’m pretty sure the now defunct supermarket was either Fine Fare or Gateway (anybody remember them?) who each, I believe eventually morphed into Somerfield.

But this was back in the increasingly affluent 80’s and the idea was abandoned I presume due to lack of public interest, insufficient marketing or more likely due to a perception of inconvenience or even hygiene concerns from the shopping public.

Maybe if one of the larger uber supermarkets had tried the idea it might have caught on with the right incentives and marketing.

Would it even work now?
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3 thoughts on “Green Supermarket Memory

  1. I suspect I am not alone in remembering a time when you took your own bottle down to the corner shop to be filled with vinegar.

    Maybe those times are returning (though I don’t think they ever really went away outside the big cities). A straw in the wind is the intriguing little shop Unpackaged that has opened near us. We had a good root around in there the other evening, chatting to the friendly young lady who runs the place. You can buy all manner of cereals, rice and grains from open bins. They also sell a range of organic fruit and “eco-friendly” products. The cheese (cut from a big block) was not vegetarian but perhaps I can persuade them 🙂

    Maybe the idea will catch on.
    Stuff(Em) Replied: The unpackaged sounds like the same idea brought up to date albeit in a niche ‘less costs more’ way no doubt.

  2. It was Fine Fare that started it in their larger stores and the department was called “Pack Your Own” written in stencil lettering. When the stores were bought by Dee Corporation and converted to Gateway the Pack Your Own department continued and even opened in other large Gateway stores that had never been Fine Fare. Sadly, Gateway was taken over by another company and they decided to sell off the largest stores. The remaining Pack Your Own departments disappeared as the new owners tried to make more money. There were also many shops around, at least in the North East called Weigh & Save and The Food Weighhouse, that offered the same concept.

  3. Hello Tagi, thanks for clearing the cobwebs off that hazy memory. I think our local Asda store was originally a Fine Fare store as there’s a store room at the back still labelled as such. Clearly ‘pack your own’ was an idea somewhat ahead of its time.

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