Welbeck Farm Shop has become the first farm shop in the country to introduce a new, zero-waste packaging system.
Based on the Welbeck estate between Nottingham and Sheffield, the store’s focus on low food miles, artisan food tradition, rigorous taste testing, and waste reduction has earned it a reputation as one of the country’s top farm shops.
‘Unpackaged’ offers a series of refillable dispensers for shoppers looking to reduce the amount of packaging they use. The scheme has been inspired by a more traditional way of shopping, where goods are measured and weighed and do not come in hard-to-recycle plastic packaging.
On offer is an array of cereals, pulses, pastas, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate and various other raw foodstuffs. The Welbeck Farm Shop has installed the Unpackaged system in bright, well sign-posted area of the store and customers can fill up their own containers and weigh out exactly what they want before taking their goods to the tills.
“As a responsible retailer we are always looking at ways in which we can reduce both food waste and packaging waste and the Unpackaged concept is a great fit for our Farm Shop. We have always carefully sourced our produce in terms of quality and reduced packaging is now also at the forefront of our decision making because it’s something both our customers and our staff are very keen on,” says Oliver Stubbins, Welbeck Farm Shop Manager.
Offering refills is different to ‘bulk’ shopping, which does not deal with the issue of packaging waste. The weight of any container is automatically deducted from the overall weight of the goods bought and the system is self-service, easy to use, and complies with all legislation on weights, measures and labelling.
Catherine Conway, founder of Unpackaged: “Independent retailers have a huge opportunity to beat the big supermarkets to reducing waste – and shopping ‘by refill’ ensures repeat business!”
Unpackaged started up in 2006 at market stalls around east London before opening a small shop in central London selling over 700 products in bulk, offering a solution to the growing problem of packaging waste. Today, Unpackaged leads the way in retail and consultancy services tackling packaging at all stages of the supply chain.
Welbeck Farm Shop is found at the heart of a vibrant artisan food community. Two thirds of the shop’s product range is sourced from, or prepared at, the historic Welbeck estate. Open seven days a week it stocks the estate’s own meat, game and Raw Milk, (also used to make ‘Stichelton’ blue cheese), ale from Welbeck Abbey Brewery, bread and patisserie from Welbeck Bakehouse and chocolate from Welbeck Farm Shop’s resident chocolatier Shelly Preston.
Earlier this year (April) Welbeck won the prestigious ‘Small Farm Shop of the year’ award in the national Farm Shop and Deli Awards. The award was made after a public vote followed by judging from an independent panel of food industry experts.