Unilever and Asda trial range of refillable models

Unilever Asda refills

A refill trial at Asda’s Middleton store, supported by Unilever and Beauty Kitchen, is aiming to test and learn what works best for consumers in a retail environment.

Unilever is a lead partner in Asda’s trial providing seven of its household-name brands including Persil, PG Tips, Radox, Cif, Simple, Pukka and Alberto Balsam. Trialling three different refill formats, it is said to be the largest of its kind for Unilever in Europe

There are three different refill models in store. Touch-free Refill Machine, (developed by Beauty Kitchen, are for beauty and personal care brands. Liquid will be dispensed in reusable aluminium or stainless steel bottles via three machines using the “Return, Refill, Repeat” premise.  First-time shoppers will be provided with a bottle whilst returning shoppers will reuse their existing bottle. Once filled, shoppers add their printed label to the bottle and take it to checkout. Each bottle has a unique QR code, a feature which will enable full traceability of each bottle.

The second model, in-home refills, provides shoppers with an entire bay dedicated to the 10 times concentrated refill for sprays which allow them to use a Cif spray bottle for life.

Finally, Unilever tea brands PG Tips and Pukka will be available through self-serve containers or ‘hoppers’ for loose tea and tongs to self-dispense fully biodegradable teabags. Shoppers will be able to take their own reusable container into store or buy one there.  Once their container is full, they take it to the weighing station where a label is printed ready for payment at the checkout.

Sebastian Munden, executive vice president of Unilever UK and Ireland said: “I am very excited by the potential to test and learn from this fantastic partnership with Asda. It’s a great opportunity for us to find out, across seven of our leading brands, just how shoppers respond to using refillable and reusable packaging in-store. We are all committed to driving lasting change when it comes to plastic, but to do so we must create scalable solutions and make it as easy as possible for people to make sustainable choices. On our journey to halving our use of virgin plastic by 2025 we will have to be bold and totally rethink products and packaging, and we will only do that by testing a range of solutions with shoppers in real-life conditions.”

Jo Chidley, founder of Beauty Kitchen added: “The need to act on the plastic pollution crisis is urgent and focusing consumer behaviour on sustainability and cradle to cradle practise is a vital part of the solution. This exciting partnership to power Refill Stations is a pivotal point in creating a sustainable future and instilling a reuse mindset.”