Woolworths cops it over sweet potato packaging

A WOOLWORTHS customer has unleashed on the supermarket giant in a viral social media rant over sweet potatoes.

Newcastle woman Leanne Stokan attracted the attention of thousands of Australians when she posted an image of packaged sweet potatoes on the retailer's Facebook page - in a rant that drew comments and likes from more than 65,000 people.

A Woolworths social media representative responded by saying that the plastic packing was "designed to preserve the product throughout the supply chain", and that the company made efforts "to use our packaging as efficiently as possible", pointing out that "many of our packaged produce lines are also available in loose format".

But this did not stop many of commenters from weighing in and criticising the supermarket's explanation as "spin".

"If you also supply sweet potatoes in loose format and they survive fine, then there is no reason to wrap them in plastic and then plastic again," wrote Danielle Sciortino.

"Do something about this because it is damaging to your brand value and the planet. Also please broaden your cosmetic standards to shape and size of fruit and veg. It's scandalous how much waste you contribute to."

Do you think it is a waste to package sweet potatoes?

This poll ended on 29 June 2017.

Current Results

YES

96%

NO

3%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The viral post comes after the issues of food waste and recycling were raised recently in the popular ABC documentary War on Waste .

"This is shocking. We have far too much plastic packaging already," wrote Peter Markham.

"The oceans are now full of plastic, choking sea life."

A TIME FOR CHANGE?

Nathan Dutch said nothing angered or frustrated him more than "seeing this waste".

"Thanks, Woolies for being so thoughtful in protecting our sweet potatoes. How did they ever make it this far without your diligent efforts before??? How about preserving the environment first and let ALL sweet potatoes be free on your supermarket shelves," he wrote.

Andria Notman said Woolworths had "the perfect opportunity here to be brave and go package-less" as it was "obvious people want it",

But not everyone agreed with the post. Natalie Andonovska wrote: "People have nothing better to do with their time then to complain! We should be worried about the more pressing issues in the world!"

Another commenter asked why Woolworths didn't make paper bags available for all fresh produce, since they were already in use for mushrooms.

Woolworths' social media manager said the company needed to ensure that recyclable packaging met its food safety standards, product integrity requirements, and would "sustain the appropriate shelf life of our products to reduce food waste".

"We'll continue to work with our suppliers to actively pursue packaging alternatives that reduce the amount of packaging or increasing its recyclability where possible," Woolworths said.

"We're pleased to have several organic produce suppliers who have recently adopted recycled packaging. We've also eliminated polystyrene trays from our produce organics supply network converting to compostable trays or recyclable plastic."

dana.mccauley@news.com.au

News Corp Australia


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