Morrisons is trialling a radical new store concept with environmental initiatives at its heart. By Michael Barker
Carbon-neutral eggs and locally sourced fresh food are among a raft of initiatives to appear in Morrisons’ lower environmental impact store trial.
The supermarket chain this month opened a new store in Little Clacton as part of its wider sustainability drive. The new build incorporates a range of structural features and loose products to reduce carbon emissions, energy and resource use.
As well as stocking 366 loose products with no plastic packaging, the store will be the first to trial Morrisons’ carbon-neutral eggs. A significant number of locally sourced products will also feature, supported by a range of biodiversity schemes and more healthy and nutritious foods.
The store design features a low carbon-impact building, next-generation fridges powered by CO2 from agricultural waste, roof solar panels to provide a fifth of energy, rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, a near zero waste back-of-house system, and facilities to recycle customers’ waste.
Morrisons stressed that all of the initiatives have the potential to be scaled up and introduced across its estate. Chief executive David Potts said: “This store is a significant step forward on our sustainability journey. It brings together all of the environmental and social initiatives we have created that can be rolled out into other stores across the country. It will start to inform the design of many more similar stores to come.”
The Little Clacton store will have 43% lower operational emissions than a standard store, and will generate its own power and move away from gas. It will use only electricity, with 20% generated through solar roof panels.
In its construction, Morrisons Little Clacton has recycled 99% of the demolition materials from its old store in the new build, and reused and reduced steel to lower carbon emissions by 52%. Special car park tarmac has been used to offer a carbon saving of up to 25%, while a rainwater harvesting system will be used to flush the store’s toilets and reduce virgin water use of nearly 600,000 litres a year. Outside the store, a wildlife area has been created in the grounds of the store to offer a home for birds, insects and small animals.
Plastic-free and locally sourced
The store will feature plastic-free shopping for over 110 products at the meat, fish and deli counters using refillable containers, and will carry a wide range of products sourced from local farmers, growers and foodmakers, with the aim of helping the local economy and keeping food miles to a minimum. The products have been sourced as part of Morrisons Nation’s Local Foodmakers programme, which searches for locally known and popular food and drinks. Over 250 local beers, spirits, fruits, vegetables, eggs, pies, breads, jams, teas, sauces, biscuits and crisps will be supplied from less than 35 miles away, against an average of 50 lines in Morrisons’ regular stores south-east stores.
Morrisons said its Little Clacton store will be almost zero waste and the store will offer customers the ability to return their waste. It will offer a wide range of recycling points for soft plastics, batteries, ink cartridges, cartons, glass and textiles so customers can recycle their hard-to-recycle items. The store’s back-of-house will recycle all waste, so that nothing is sent to landfill. It will also offer Too Good To Go ‘Magic Bags’, where customers can get £10 of fruit, veg, deli and bakery products for £3.09 to prevent food waste.
The Little Clacton development is part of Morrisons’ plans to become net zero for operational emissions by 2035, and the retailer has committed to a 50 per cent reduction across its own brand primary plastic packaging by 2025, aiming to recycle all of the waste it creates by the same date.