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Cucumbers go 'naked' without their packaging at the Co-op

The Co-operative Food is to become the first retailer tin the UK to launch naked cucumbers. In a climate where British supermarkets are forever introducing greener initiatives, the Co-operative has taken the initiative to reduce unnecessary packaging. By removing the plastic shrink-wrap on whole cucumbers, it is estimated the retailer will save eight tonnes of plastic from going to landfill every year. Produce category buyer Carla Mills said: Cucumbers were the first choice for us as they were quite an obviously over-packaged product. We have extensively trialled the naked cucumbers throughout a number of stores and found it to be very successful, with no real negative feedback. The whole cucumbers will continue to be delivered to stores in cardboard boxes that will be lined with long-life Smart liners. These liners have been proven to reduce any negative impacts of removing the plastic wrap such as possible moisture loss. The move to naked cucumbers will not impact on shelf-life. Head of range development Kate Jones said: The Co-operatives commitment to environmental improvement is long standing, and, as a consumer-owned organisation, our members and customers help set our responsible retailing agenda. Following a 12 week trial, our customers have told us they are pleased to see that we are taking steps to reduce packaging, and are more than happy to buy their cucumbers without the usual plastic wrap. The Co-operative was the first retailer to run a successful minimisation programme with the Waste & Resources Action Programme, when it succeeded in removing the cardboard carton from its own label tomato puree. This product is now sold in stand-up tubes, which according to the company, saves a considerable amount of board. The naked whole cucumbers will be in Co-operative Food stores from October 1.

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