Global grocery: News and ideas from the world of food retail

From flexible pay to sustainable packaging, international grocers are serving up innovation

Flexible pay at Asda 

U.K. retailer ASDA has teamed up with financial well-being app Wagestream to help its 140,000 employees better manage their finances and deal with the rising cost of living. The app allows employees to see how much they’ve earned throughout a pay period and gives them instant access of up to 50% of their earned contracted pay. The app also features tools to improve financial education and allows employees to set aside money automatically as a “rainy day pot.” And, each month, employees are entered into a prize draw for a chance to double their pot. “We understand that from time to time our colleagues may need a bit more financial help, something which would be made worse by the current cost of living crisis,” said the company’s chief people and corporate affairs officer, Hayley Tatum, in a press release. The partnership with Wagestream follows Asda’s decision to up hourly pay for its retail employees by 10% this year.

sainsbury sustainable packaging

Sainsbury’s sustainable packaging 

Sainsbury’s has stepped up efforts in recent months to reduce plastic in its private-label packaging. In March, the U.K. supermarket chain launched its liquid laundry detergent in cardboard cartons, a move it says will save 22 tons of plastic annually. The cartons are also 35% lighter than the original plastic packaging, and Sainsbury’s estimates that will remove 13 delivery trucks off the road each year, reducing carbon emissions. The grocer also set its sights on chicken and removed single-use plastic trays from its By Sainsbury’s whole chicken range. The company says the move to trayless chicken packaging is expected to save 10 million pieces of plastic a year. The grocer also announced it would be removing single-use plastic lids across its own brand dip containers.

woolsworth art bags

Art Bags for communities 

Woolworths in Australia has launched an Art Bag range to “celebrate and support Australian communities.” The reusable bags feature designs from some of the country’s up-and-coming artists. The first Art Bag was created in collaboration with Jessica Johnson, founder of Nungala Creative, a First Nations owned and operated agency. To launch Art Bag, the grocer donated the equivalent of C$90,000 to support indigenous education in Australia’s Northern Territory.

tesco king charles pop-up

A pop-up fit for a king

To celebrate the coronation of King Charles III, U.K. grocery giant Tesco opened a pop-up pub for two days in early May. “The King in the Castle” pop-up was a temporary takeover of the Castle pub located in Farringdon, London. The pub served up an “affordable” Coronation-themed menu that included items such as Camilla’s King Prawn Curry and The Prince’s Crust Pie, along with standard pub bevvies. Tesco said proceeds from the two-day pop-up would be directed to The Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by the King in 1976 to help vulnerable young people get their lives on track.

Albert Heijn true pricing

Albert Heijn trials true pricing 

To raise awareness of the social and environmental costs of products in its stores, Dutch grocer Albert Heijn has embarked on a price experiment. In three of its stores, customers are presented with two prices when paying for a cup of coffee – the price they’d normally pay and the “true” price (a slightly higher one), which considers other production costs such as harmful CO2 emissions, water consumption and working conditions. Albert Heijn says the purpose of the experiment is to provide customers with insight into hidden costs, stimulate sustainable choices and study customer reactions. The grocer says proceeds from the extra amount customers are willing to pay for the true price coffee will be directed to Rainforest Alliance improvement projects.

This article first appeared in Canadian Grocer’s May 2023 issue.

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