Unilever and Co-op have partnered together to launch two refill packaging store trials.


Taking place in Co-op stores on Wolverhampton Road, Codsall and Marsh, Huddersfield, the trial will test two refill models: ‘Refill on the go’ and ‘Return on the go’ which feature Unilever brands, Persil; Simple; Radox and Alberto Balsam, in reusable stainless-steel bottles.

The Return on the go scheme allows customers to pick up pre-filled stainless-steel bottles and return in-store once used, while the Refill on the go approach allows customers to purchase and refill re-useable stainless-steel bottles using a standalone refill machine in-store.

This is Unilever’s first trial within a convenience store and it is hoped will “gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour towards refillable and reusable packaging”.

Co-op’s head of format development Ian McCutcheon said: “We are continually working to develop new ways to provide added services and choice conveniently. The refillable packaging trials with Unilever are designed to test and, learn from consumer behaviour, while providing easy and quick ways for shoppers to cut their plastic consumption. We are facing into a climate and environmental crisis, and we need to act now to support consumers in making ethical purchasing decisions - by making it easier for shoppers to make small changes to their lives, together, we can make a big difference to our environment.”

Unilever UK & Ireland general manager and executive vice-president Sebastian Munden added: “Our trials with Co-op include our first test of refillable products in a smaller convenience store setting, helping us to further build our understanding of how refills work in different store sizes, locations and shopping missions. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for reuse and refill. Offering a range of our trusted brands and products in refillable stainless steels bottles, we continue to test different models, store formats and locations across the UK to see how shoppers respond, what works best, and what we need to adapt and change. Working closely with partners like Co-op, we can help people to make more sustainable choices every day and reduce the single use of virgin plastic with the speed and urgency needed.”