Futures Forum: The truth about plastic: how to cure our addiction
Last night's Supershoppers on Channel Four looked at plastic packaging:
Supershoppers - On Demand - All 4
The Mail looked at what it covered:
Revealed: How buying condiments in GLASS jars instead of squeezy bottles can slash your grocery bill - as it's revealed brands charge up to twice as much for plastic
- Some supermarkets and brands charge up to twice as much for plastic bottles
- Plastic bottles are often smaller than glass jars but can cost shoppers more
- Eco-unfriendly plastic is cheaper to produce but shoppers pay for convenience
- The revelations are made on tonight's Supershoppers special on Channel 4
Switching from squeezy plastic bottles to glass jars could help shoppers to slash their grocery bills, an investigation has found. Some supermarkets and brands - including Heinz and Marmite - have quietly been charging up to twice as much for convenient plastic bottles, even when they contain less of the same product than glass containers.
This is despite glass jars being more expensive to produce than low-cost and environmentally harmful plastic bottles, Wednesday night's Supershoppers Savers Special on Channel 4 reveals.
The investigation led by presenters Anna Richardson and Sabrina Grant found that the largest 500g glass jar of Marmite Yeast Extract costs £4.75 or 95p per 100g at Sainsbury's. However the largest squeezy plastic bottle - which is just 400g - costs £4.65, or £1.16 per 100g, making it 22 per cent more expensive for less of the same product.
FEMAIL Food&Drink discovered that it is the same case at Morrisons. A 250g glass jar of Marmite costs £2.64 for 250g, or £1.06 per 100g, while a 200g squeezy bottle costs £2.62 for 200g, or £1.31 per 100g.
Marmite is far from the only brand to make its convenient plastic bottles more expensive, even though glass jars are costlier to produce and transport and the squeezy containers often contain less of the product. Supershoppers found that glass jars of Helmann's Real Mayonnaise and Colman's English Mustard cheaper than squeezy plastic bottles at Sainsbury's. Further research by FEMAIL Food&Drink found that it is usually cheaper to buy glass jars of Heinz's Seriously Good Mayonnaise than squeezy bottles, particularly when buying larger sizes.
Paul Jenkins, packaging consultant at The Pack Hub, explained the phenomenon to Anna Richardson. 'Brand owners and retailers saw the opportunity to reduce the packaging cost of products. Glass is lot heavier than plastic and by making the shift, they reduce transport costs and C02 emissions.'
However as Anna explained, the production of a small plastic bottle can produce 100 times the toxic emissions as the same sized glass jar. The production of convenient squeezy bottles is contributing to the 100,000 tonnes of plastic produced every year by British supermarkets. Plastic is cheaper to produce, but brands and supermarkets do not always pass on these savings on to customers, the investigation found.
Paul explained why shoppers often pay more for plastic squeezy bottles. 'Convenience,' he told Anna. 'Consumers don't make price comparison and don't do the calculations.'
According to Supershoppers' research, nine out of 10 supermarkets stocked glass and plastic bottles in different sizes, which makes it harder for shoppers to work out which item is cheaper as the face-value prices may fool them.
However it is not always the case that glass is cheaper than plastic. Research by FEMAIL Food&Drink found that it is almost always cheaper to buy squeezy plastic bottles of Heinz Ketchup than glass jars. It also found that smaller jars of Marmite and Helmann's Real Mayonnaise were slightly more expensive than plastic bottles - while remaining better for the environment.
Brands have been contacted for comment. A Heinz spokesman said: 'Whilst we are committed to ensuring value for money we do not control in-store prices as these are set independently by retailers and are also subject to each retailer's own promotional strategies and phasing.'
Buying glass instead of plastic bottles can save you money | Daily Mail Online