This illustration shows plastic containers, cutlery and plastic wrapped food packaging taken on August 12, 2018, in a studio in Paris.
Photo: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Over half (54%) of small retailers in the UK have seen sales of plastic packaged goods fall over the last six months, reveals a new research from merchant services provider Paymentsense.

The research shows that sales of fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic are most commonly highlighted as down, closely followed by fruit juice and water in plastic bottles.

The study also underlines how shoppers purchasing habits are evolving, in light of months of mainstream media attention on the subject.

Almost half (49%) of the small retailers surveyed said the number of customers requesting products without packaging has increased over the last six months. Over a third (36%) reported that consumers are now buying more unwrapped goods and using their own bags or containers to transport them. Nearly a quarter (23%) said they had seen a growth in customers requesting products with plastic-free packaging.

The trend is having an impact on revenues, notes the study. The small retailers surveyed said they had noticed an associated drop in takings of 3.6 percent, on average.

Survey also finds that many small retailers are already responding to the shifting consumer priorities. ,

Over four in 10 (41%) said they have started stocking unpacked or loose goods as well as introduced new lines with plastic-free packaging in the last six months. Almost a third (30%) are also now recycling more, and a quarter (25%) no longer sell drinks with built-in plastic straws.

The products facing the wrath of consumers the most include:

  • Fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic (highlighted as down by 44% of small retailers)
  • Fruit juice in plastic bottles (43%)
  • Water in plastic bottles (39%)
  • Plastic cutlery (26%)
  • Plastic straws (26%)
  • Drinks sold with plastic straws (25%)
  • Soft drinks in plastic bottles (24%)
  • Tea bags (23%)
  • Cling film (17%)
  • Frozen food with plastic packaging (14%)