The Pretoria store was selected to be among only 13 Pick n Pay outlets which have on trial a so-called “Nude Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wall” which the giant retailer is most excited about.
This section of the shelves gives shoppers the chance to hand pick a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and pack them inside environmentally friendly paper bags, rather than single-use plastic.
The idea to be more environmentally friendly follows trends to do away with plastic straws and disposable coffee cups. When shoppers walked towards the new display on Friday, the first thing they noticed was the vivid colours of the items on display, and then the brown paper bags for their purchases.
They were excited to embrace the innovation and referred to global calls for people to cut out continued use of plastic that creates waste which often ends up in the ocean where it is harmful to animals.
However, it was their enthusiasm for the innovation that convinced management that eventually all fruit and vegetables could be sold without using so much plastic packaging.
Pick n Pay announced that among the seasonal items available without packaging are: brown steak mushrooms, portabellini mushrooms, red and green chillies, cocktail tomatoes, sweet Palermo peppers, baby brinjals, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, sweet corn and baby cabbage.
They joined 35 other loose fruit and vegetables including items like potatoes and carrots that were already available to Pick n Pay customers loose.
Paper bags are made available to customers to complete their plastic-free greengrocer-style shopping.
Another option is to buy the retailers new reusable netted fruit and vegetable fresh produce bag or bring their own reusable bags for loose selling produce.
Shopper Ria Doman said: “I am extremely happy about this and I think it’s the best idea ever. Plastic is not good for the environment and that’s been demonstrated. We need to be responsible human beings think about these things.”
Dolly Botes said the retail chain deserved a round of applause for the initiative because it was the responsible thing to do in an age where people are bombarded with information about the pros and cons of every product they use.
“I really do not see why any person could have a problem with this. It doesn’t affect our shopping in any bad way so I think it’s even better that it saves the environment. There are still a lot of people who (say) these calls to protect the environment are exaggerated, but really the environment needs us to act, and act now,” said Botes.
Earlier Woolworths announced that it was testing a plastic-bag free store in Moreleta Park. Cotton On is offering paper bags, with other retailers set to follow.