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A Simple Swap: New World & Prolife Foods Rolling Out Recycled Paper Bags Nationwide

After a successful trial, New World and Prolife Foods announce the nationwide rollout of recycled paper bags at Alison’s Pantry departments on the eve of Plastic Free July.


The paper bags were trialled at 30 New World and PAK’nSAVE stores across the country in February to gauge customers’ preference on recycled paper bags versus the resealable plastic bags currently available.

Following the trial, both packaging options will now be available across all New World stores.

“This trial gave us an opportunity to listen to our customers and ensure our packaging solutions are durable, practical and something people actually want to use,” says Kelly McClean, Sustainable Packaging Project Manager, Foodstuffs New Zealand. “We know many New Zealanders will be pleased to have two convenient, sustainable packaging options at our stores’ Alison’s Pantry departments.”

The trial also revealed customers use the current Alison’s Pantry plastic bags for food storage at home in the pantry or freezer. It is recommended that if customers want to make the simple swap to paper bags, that they decant their bulk foods into a clean, air-tight reusable container or glass jar at home for long-term storage. The paper bags can then be used again for food on-the-go and later recycled.

The recycled paper bags are made of 70% recycled content, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, kerbside recyclable and feature a glassine, paper-based window.

“The trial we conducted pre-Covid revealed that New Zealanders like options and convenience,” says Kristina McCalman, Senior Brand Manager for Prolife Foods. “We learned valuable lessons about the recycled paper bags during its trial, such as the need for a glassine window which makes it easy for customers and checkout staff to see what’s inside in the bag, and the need for a recyclable paper sticker to safely seal the bag for ease of transport home. We also learned that New Zealanders like the current reusable plastic bag, which is why it will continue to be available for customers. Yes, it’s a plastic bag, but customers re-use it in their pantry, for tomorrow’s lunch and for freezing. It was important we strike the right balance of practicality, reusability, sustainability and convenience, and offering both bag options strikes the perfect balance.”

The nationwide rollout of the recycled paper bags at 143 New World stores nationwide is just in time for Plastic Free July. This year’s Plastic Free July campaign has a different theme, to reflect a post-Covid world, but still rooted in sustainability. The theme, “Simple Swaps,” is about showing Aotearoa the simple swaps at their fingertips that they can make to live more sustainably. Swapping to a recycled paper bag at Alison’s Pantry is…a simple swap.

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