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Aug. 18, 2022

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Reusable packaging gets in the Loop at Fred Meyer stores

Fred Meyer parent Kroger first in U.S. to offer products

By , Columbian staff writer
3 Photos
A shopper walks in front of a Loop return bin Tuesday at the Grand Central Fred Meyer. The company is partnering with Loop, which offers reusable packaging for select groceries.
A shopper walks in front of a Loop return bin Tuesday at the Grand Central Fred Meyer. The company is partnering with Loop, which offers reusable packaging for select groceries. (Photos by Taylor Balkom/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Grocery shoppers are used to buying food knowing that the containers the food is in will either have to be thrown away or recycled. But now for shoppers at Portland-area Fred Meyer stores, there’s a third option: they can be reused.

The Kroger Co., parent company of Fred Meyer, announced last week that it has joined with Loop to offer a number of products in reusable rather than single-use packaging.

Suppose shoppers buy a Loop-ready bottle of barbecue sauce, marked with a Loop label. After they’ve used the sauce, they can return the bottle to the Loop collection bin at their local Fred Meyer. Loop will pick up and clean the bottle to be refilled for a new customer.

More than 20 products will be able to be reused this way, according to last week’s announcement from Kroger. There will be a packaging deposit charged for the products, which will be refunded when the packaging is returned. The amount of the deposit wasn’t available.

The Loop-ready goods include products from brands such as Arbor Teas, Cascade, Clorox, Gerber, Nature’s Heart, Nature’s Path, Pantene, Seventh Generation, and Stubb’s. Kroger’s Simple Truth brand is also going to be selling some products in reusable packaging. Loop expects more brands to come on board in the following months.

The Kroger and Loop partnership is the first of its kind in the United States. Loop has worked with other grocers in Europe and Japan, but Fred Meyer will be the first grocery chain in the U.S. to offer Loop-ready products in store.

“Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle, and this collection makes it convenient,” Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability, said in the announcement. “As the first grocer in America to offer these products, Kroger is pleased to take another meaningful step toward a world with zero waste.”

“Kroger is committed to achieving lasting positive change for billions of people and for our planet. To do this, we’ve developed a shared-value (environmental, social, and governance) framework that unlocks greater business value as we work collectively to create more resilient, equitable and sustainable systems,” Keith Dailey, Kroger’s group vice of corporate affairs and chief impact officer, said in the company’s announcement.

“Loop’s goal has always been to grow, scale and be accessible to consumers around the world,” added Tom Szaky, founder and chief executive of TerraCycle and Loop. “With the world’s largest retailers bringing Loop to physical brick and mortar locations, we are giving consumers what they’ve been asking for since Loop was introduced in 2019 — the ability to purchase the products they use every day in durable, reusable containers, with the convenience of shopping at their local market.”

Loop is also working with the U.S. beauty retailer Ulta and a number of Walgreens-owned pharmacies in the New York metro area.

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