Nude Shopping... say what?
What a surprise – you clicked on the link! However, you can keep your aprons on, it’s not what you may have imagined. Nude shopping is the next big trend in food shopping and is actually about the beginning of the end for plastics in meat retail stores.
The war against plastic has begun and “Nude Shopping” is an initiative by some food retailers who are getting on board to start the battle. They want to put an end to statistics that show that of the 335 million tons of plastic produced each year, half is thrown away within a year, while only nine percent is recycled. And you’ve seen the images, much of this ends up in our ocean and is devastating our marine life and planet.
In many parts of the world this movement is gaining momentum. In New Zealand, some supermarkets are trialing nude vegetables, where vegetables are displayed without plastic and under misters to keep them fresh. Customers bring their own reusable vegetable bags or purchase ones provided by the supermarket. The upside of this is that the sales figures for vegetables sold this way have been stunning with some vegetables such as spring onions, increasing by 300 per cent and feedback from customers is all positive.
It could be said that meat sold at butchers’ shops is nude shopping, especially if it is wrapped in paper or if customers bring their own containers. We don’t need to tell you that shopping for meat in a butcher shop, where you can smell meat, see the beautifully displayed cuts and chat with a butcher that loves his craft, is a totally unique and special experience. In contrast, thinking about meat on plastic trays covered in cling film or vacuum-packed and often not in a quantity that you might choose to purchase - although efficient, how does it compare in terms of experience? And all the plastic surrounding the meat just heads to the landfills or gets recycled. Nude shopping would stop this waste even entering our environment in the first place.
Maybe we need to bring the butcher shop experience back to the old days and get on board with nude shopping? Maybe we need to do away with all the pre-packaged meat. There are obvious challenges regarding food safety and transportation of meat from the supermarket to home - but we’d love to hear some of the ways you’ve tried to reduce retail waste but ensure food safety. How can we as butchers get on board in the war against plastic?
- Regina Wypych - New Zealand nutritionist