The first to be microbead free

Foodstuffs supermarkets, which include New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square, have been microbead-free since 1st July 2017; a year ahead of the Government’s proposed date for banning microbeads from New Zealand stores. 


Scientific research has proven that the tiny beads of plastic used as an exfoliating agent in many skin cleansing products are finding their way into drains and ultimately the marine environment where they fail to break down or are consumed by marine life. 

Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager for Foodstuffs says the business started discussions with their many suppliers in 2016 with the aim of expediting the change. “We’re pleased to say that many suppliers had already reformulated their products substituting the plastic beads with natural ingredients. Where brands were unable to meet our time frame, we’ve chosen to delist the products and replace them with an extensive range of high quality alternative ‘bead free’ products. 

“Minimising our impact on the environment is a priority issue and this is absolutely the right thing to do. The changes we're making will have a positive impact on marine life. That said we know there's more work to be done and we will continue to see how we can reduce plastics wherever we can." 

In the last year Foodstuffs has introduced 100% recyclable meat trays to all stores and incentivised customers to reduce their plastic footprint by offering rebates for using reusable shopping bags. Foodstuffs is also a foundation partner of the Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastics Recycling Programme; which is collecting over five tonnes a week of packaging in purpose designed bins located at the front of stores. The material is then reprocessed into new products such as street furniture and decking. 

Making positive change takes a collective approach according to Foodstuffs North Island CEO, Chris Quin. “Nationwide across the Co-operative we have almost 30,000 team members committed to reducing waste and our environmental impact. Hundreds and thousands of our customers are also doing their level best to make the right choices – re-using bags, choosing sustainable products and shopping thoughtfully on a daily basis. Our suppliers are a big part of the solution – and it speaks volumes that they have worked with us to make this change to provide customers with more sustainable products.

Got a question about this page?