Waitrose Unpacked – Toast on Tap

5th June 2019

Waitrose Unpacked – Toast on Tap

Thoughts and words from Mikey Rothwell – Breadwinner and Eco Warrior 


This week, employee-owned Waitrose supermarket has launched a trial of packaging free products and we’re super proud to have our full range of delicious, waste-busting beers on tap!


All four of our beers – Pale Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale and Lager – will be available on draught for Waitrose customers to take home in growlers as part of the Waitrose Unpacked trial that launched this week in its Botley Road shop in Oxford .


The trial is designed to remove as much unnecessary packaging as possible from the items on sale in store. By buying beer in reusable containers, or ‘growlers’, customers will reduce the amount of glass bottles needed to enjoy a Toast. Waitrose first stocked our bottled beer in 2017 and are a great partner – from stocking Toast Ale online  to launching a website aisle for B Corp products like ours. We’re now hugely proud to be the only brewery involved in this 11 week trial that’s a first for a major UK supermarket.


Also available in refillable containers is wine from When in Rome and washing detergent from our B Corp friends Ecover. Further initiatives being tested as part of the trial are: double the usual amount of package-free fruit and vegetables, the country’s first ever supermarket frozen ‘pick and mix’ and first borrow-a-box scheme. Also unpacked are 28 dry products such as rice, lentils, pasta which are available in dispensers that customers can take home in boxes borrowed from the store until their next visit.


We’re thrilled to be a part of this hugely important initiative that will help determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future. With the well-documented threats to the Earth’s oceans that single-use plastic packaging can bring we hope this will be a first step on the road to all retailers reducing packaging waste across all stores and all products. With the news last year that around the world 1 million plastic bottles are bought every single minute, it’s more necessary than ever that businesses, governments, and consumers work together to move towards a circular economy.


The ability to buy food in reusable containers has the added benefit of customers being able to buy only what they need, and hence cut down on their food waste too. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. By giving customers more control over the quantities of food they can buy, Waitrose is empowering people to reduce their household food waste.


Packaging comes with its own carbon footprint so using refillable containers many times over instead of single-use should also reduce the emissions of a weekly shop. In the case of beer, transporting it into store in reusable kegs rather than thousands of single-use (though endlessly recyclable!) glass bottles not only reduces the carbon emissions associated with glass production, but transportation is more weight efficient, further reducing the footprint of your beer.


Toast is proud to work with Kegstar whose national keg network allows breweries all across the UK to reuse kegs hundreds, if not thousands, of times in their life cycle. A single beer keg can be used for up to 25 years, all things going well, and has long been the beer industry’s circular solution to distributing beer to pubs and bars the world over. It’s great to see this hugely efficient system now being used in a British supermarket. Hopefully Waitrose is the first of many.


Get down to Botley Road to give Waitrose Unpacked a go yourself – the best way to support such initiatives as consumers is with our wallets to prove there is demand for change. Keep an eye out on our social media in the upcoming weeks for Team Toast’s visit to the store – we’re hugely excited about trialling it ourselves.


Let’s #RaiseAToast to eliminating unnecessary packaging, and to ending food waste!