While the ongoing global fight against COVID-19 continues, plastic usage remains a critical environmental issue, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak using the 2020 Budget to announce a tax on plastic packaging. From April 2022, any plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled content will be subject to a charge of £200 a tonne.
Meanwhile, 89%[i] of the UK believe packaging should change to become more sustainable. More than half (55%) of the UK population also believe that plastic bottles should contain at least 50% recycled content. However, the average proportion used by businesses stands at just 15%[ii].
Recent figures have also revealed recycled plastic could supply 71% of the UK’s demand for the raw materials required for plastic packaging and products[iii].
The new recycled bottle from Stokes will be used for all five of the brand’s products which are currently available in its original ‘squeezy’ bottle – Tomato Ketchup, Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup, Real Mayonnaise, Brown Sauce and Original Barbecue. As the recycled bottles roll out across the UK, Stokes Sauces’ Real Mayonnaise will be available in Sainsbury’s, while the brand’s Tomato Ketchup and Reduced Sugar Ketchup will be appearing on the shelves in Waitrose at least for a limited time. The recycled bottles will also be available on Ocado as well as in selected Nisa, Costcutter, Spar, Booths, East of England Co-op and independent grocery stores in the coming weeks.
The new packaging is made from food grade recycled PET plastic (rPET) and is also fully recyclable. The bottle includes clear messaging on the label explaining to consumers why the plastic has a slightly darker tinge – an inevitable result of using recycled materials.
Commenting on the move, Founder and Managing Director of Stokes Sauces, Rick Sheepshanks, said: “These are tough times while we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, but we felt very strongly that we needed to press ahead with this important change. We are facing a monumental plastic problem on a global scale and our responsibility to do more when it comes to reducing our plastic usage has not gone away, particularly in FMCG. We all have a responsibility to abolish waste in the world and that is our target at Stokes Sauces.
“The new plastic does have a slightly darker tint which particularly for the mayonnaise means the product looks a little different. We have had to take a deep breath before making this move and trust our customers to continue to support us. Our condiments remain as delicious as ever, and the plastic is of course completely food grade certified.
“We know we’re doing the right thing by our customers and our planet, and continue on a journey to examine every part of how we run our business to minimise our impact as much as possible.”
As well as helping to minimise waste, rPET also has a much lower carbon footprint than virgin PET plastic.
Stokes Sauces also produces a wide range of other products in glass jars and bottles. Based in Suffolk, Stokes was founded in 2004 by Rick Sheepshanks. He created Stokes’ famous Tomato Ketchup when he was trying to encourage his young daughter to eat more vegetables and from there expanded into a variety of other sauces, condiments, relishes, chutneys and dressings. Stokes continues to make the very best sauces available, using only the best quality ingredients.