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At one grocer, cost-cutting starts with fewer bags


Today's grocers may encourage customers to use reusable bags for the environment's sake.

But at least one U.S. supermarket chain is demanding that its cashiers use fewer plastic bags. Not to be green, but to save money.

Supervalu, which operates stores under banners such as Cub Foods and Albertsons, now runs a training program that teaches employees how to put more items in each bag.

The Minnesota-based grocer says the initiative is saving $4 million to $6 million a year thanks to an average 5% increase in the number of items per bag.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Supervalu even has a catchy slogan to remind cashiers to put more in each bag: "When you're done, add one."

Among the bagging rules reinforced through the training program: No double bagging; items with handles aren't put into a bag without manager permission; and staff should start bagging in the corners and work their way in.

Supervalu cashiers also practice bagging. For instance, they must pack 28 items using the least number of bags possible.

"We're in a competitive industry. Anything we can do to lower our expenses will help us to keep our prices as fair as possible," Supervalu spokesman Mike Siemienas told the newspaper.

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