1531712263712 - Bagging a bargain – supermarkets reward customers who bring their own bags

Bagging a bargain – supermarkets reward customers who bring their own bags

New Zealand supermarkets are rewarding customers who remember to bring their own shopping bags, but not quite to the level of their Australian counterparts. 

The Age has reported that shoppers at Australian Woolworths and Coles supermarkets will receive bonus points for remembering to bring their own reusable bags. 

Both chains recently removed single-use plastic bags from their stores, but Woolworths faced a backlash from shoppers angry at having to pay extra for bags, with some checkout operators reportedly abused. 

The Age said almost 11 million Woolworths Rewards members will earn two points for each shopping bag they bring with them, while Coles announced a five day campaign where customer bringing reusable bags would receive 30 Flybuys points.

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​New Zealand’s two major supermarket companies are taking a softly, softly approach to winning around customers addicted to packing their groceries in plastic, and they are tight lipped about future incentive schemes. 

Shoppers who bring their own bags to Foodstuffs’ New World stores can go into a draw to win prizes ranging from a car, to a citrus tree or a reusable cup. 

Since October 2016 Foodstuffs’ New World stores in the North Island have rewarded customers with 5 cents off their shop for each reusable bag they bring, up to a limit of 50 cents per visit. 

A company spokesperson said they had also given out more than 2 million bags to help with the transition as single-use plastic bags were phased out by the end of the year.

“Our customers are embracing the change and we hope will continue to do so. We think while customers might find it a bit of an adjustment, most would agree that reducing the amount of plastic we are using can only be a good thing.”

The spokesperson said Foodstuffs was committed to helping customers through the transition, but could not not share details owing to the competive environment.

Countdown supermarkets are following a similar time line.

Ten stores have phased out single-use plastic bags with all 181 stores and online shopping services following suit by the end of the year. 

As part of its Bag for Good initiative Countdown will replace its $1 reusable black bags when they wear out.

A Countdown spokesperson said that as the roll out to remove plastic bags proceeded, the company would look at ways to help encourage shoppers to come armed with their own bags, but those plans were “commercially sensitive”.

There had not been any issues with grumpy customers in the stores that had gone plastic-bag free. 

“We’ve had really positive feedback in the first ten stores, with more than 60 per cent of our customers bringing their own bags.”