Bread Arrows Rise up against plastic

new reduced plastic packaging

Drones have taken to the skies above Cheshire to mark the switch of Roberts bakery’s top-selling loaves into revolutionary new paper packaging.

Doing something ‘drastic about plastic’, Roberts has reduced plastic in its bread bags by 53% – switching its core ranges into sustainably sourced paper. It’s the first bakery brand in the UK to do so.

Dubbed the Bread Arrows, the drones performed an acrobatic display to mark the new paper bags hitting shelves of 300 Tesco stores across the UK – giving the nation’s bread buyers an environmentally-friendly option.

UK bakeries produce 10,700* tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging every year. Most goes straight to landfill or it must be taken to specialist recycling points. Roberts is the first bakery brand to come up with a bag that can be put into the paper or mixed recycling bin.

Roberts’ favourite white and wholemeal sliced loaves are now packaged in the same paper bag as its Bloomers and tummy-friendly Digestion Boost Bloomers ranges – taking potential volume to eight million loaves, that’s 20% of the bakery’s annual production.

The bakery’s Innovation Director, Alison Ordonez says: “Plastic is an increasingly important topic for us all. This latest development represents a big shift in beginning to address the problems it poses in the bread industry. But it’s not an easy task. Delivering fresh bread – of the quality that our consumers love – in a paper bag rather than plastic, is more challenging because you need the ‘preserving’ layer of plastic to keep the bread fresh.”

The new bag has 53% less plastic than before and is made from sustainably-sourced paper with a very thin poly prop coating to ensure that the loaves stay fabulously fresh.

Alison continued: “Our vision is to become the next generation bakery, and we’ve taken the lead in developing packaging solutions first. It’s part of our ongoing journey to become 100% plastic-free. If we don’t start acting, there won’t be a next generation – we feel really strongly about that.”

Importantly, the cost of the loaves remains the same. Mindful that price is often quoted as a barrier to consumers reducing their plastic consumption, the bakers have managed to retain the usual RSP of £1.15.

Supporting the switch, The Recycling Association’s Chief Executive, Simon Ellin, said: “I welcome the progress made by Roberts bakery towards an eventual single material packaging solution for its bread. The team there has engaged with us on its plans to reduce the packaging from a predominantly plastic to paper-based option. It’s a great example of how manufacturing companies can work with the recycling supply chain to meet the needs of both.

“I look forward to maintaining the relationship with Roberts bakery and supporting them in their aim of developing predominantly paper-based packing for their bread.”

The Bread Arrow drones moved from display to delivery mode in a series of follow up bread drops to plastic free campaigners in Chester, Warrington and Tarporley and across the North West.

Roberts hopes that Tesco shoppers will embrace the revolution by doing their bit and buy new Roberts loaves ‘for good’.

Roberts’ newly packaged core range – Thick Soft White, Mega Thick Soft White, Medium Soft White and Classic Wholemeal – is available exclusively in selected Tesco stores with an RRP of £1.15. Stockist details can be found here. #RiseUpAgainstPlastic

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