Saturday, 20 February 2010

Fill and go with Holland & Barrett

Wandering through the town centre today in Bury St Edmunds, I noticed that the health food and natural remedies store Holland & Barrett had finally moved from their side-street location into a prime hotspot in the Buttermarket, slap bang next to Marks & Spencer.

Despite being in a rush, I couldn't resist popping in to see what they had on offer and I'm glad I did, because as I browsed the shelves, I was delighted to see their brand new refill concept called "Fill and Go", which is a self-service facility for dried cereals as well as a fabulous range of olive oils and vinegars.

Empty bottles are available for customers to fill with their choice of olive oil and vinegar and customers are encouraged to return their empty bottles in exchange for a discount on their next purchase, which is brilliant news.  Plastic containers are also provided for  loose cereal products and fruits.  And even though these are the more flimsy "disposable" type, there's no reason why they can't be returned for a top-up when empty.

The "Fill and Go" service is currently a pilot project that is unique to Bury St Edmunds' brand-new store and if successful it will be rolled out elsewhere.

However, Holland & Barrett has also introduced wider changes that will please the waste-free consumer, including the decision to become a plastic bag-free zone across all stores in the UK.

Having said goodbye to plastic bags, customers are now encouraged to use their own reusable bags each time they shop or to buy one of the store's bags-for-life, the profits of which go to The Large Blue butterfly project, a conservation programme to help reintroduce the Large Blue butterfly species back into the UK.

Isn't it amazing what you find out from just popping into a shop for a bit of a rece and the above examples are just some of the more obvious changes that are taking place in-store.  Talking to the area manager today,  subtle differences have been  introduced too, with decisions to incorporate recycled plastic into Holland & Barrett's products as well as shrinking the size of  labels and ensuring that all their consumer packaging is recyclable by 2012.  The organisation's Plan-it-Green policy illustrates even more examples of sustainable operations elsewhere in the business from head office through to store management.

It really is encouraging to witness such changes on the high street and it is no surprise that with Holland & Barrett's history of ethical purchasing that they are one of the forerunners in the revolution to reduce waste.

I now hope that lots more high-street retailers - including national chains and independents - will continue to raise their game too.  It would be great to think that what I saw today is a realistic glimpse of the future.



mrs green @ said...

Oh how wonderful and what a great find! Isn't it exciting to see new things like this. I hope it is popular and pays for itself. Keep us updated :)

Picklesmum said...

What will happen to the little cafe in their old shop? The only almost veggie cafe in Bury? I used to go there before I had kids and will miss it. There used to be a shop in Hatter Street or Whiting Street called Basic Ingredients that sold loose cereals and flour etc, it was way ahead of it's time.

Susie - said...

Oh thats amazing! I want your holland and barretts! I hope they do roll out the oil and cereal to all stores soon!
Good old h&b, I love it, my first job was a saturday girl there when I was at 6th form - they are truely wonderful to work for and give you loads of training and head office would send gifts for all the staff on special occasions (eg. on valentines day every staff member got a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates!) I'm glad to hear they care about the environment as well as their staff!

lunarossa said...

Looks fab, let's hope they've done the same in their York branch. I will check and report back. Thanks for the information. Ciao. A.

maria said...

I love the idea of fill and go, good for Holland & Barret for taking the initiative,hopefully it will extend to other branches and more shops.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Mrs G - Fingers crossed it will be a success. And will most definitely let you know how it goes.... :-)

Hi Picklesmum - It would be good to see the cafe carry on. I'll pop along tomorrow and see if it's still open. I've heard about that Basic Ingredients shop. Wouldn't it be great if it was still around :-)

Hi Sooz - it really does sound like a brilliant place to work, what with loyalty to staff and its ethical operations. It's great to be able to support businesses who really make an effort in matters like this. Sounds like you had a fun time working there :-)

Hi Antonella - yes, do go and check and fingers crossed, if it's not there yet, I hope you'll get it soon. :-)

Hi Maria - I hope once word gets round and other stores hear the good feedback, other companies will follow suit. :-)

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