Sustainable Procurement Project of the Year

Sustainable Bakery Packaging, Woolworths Group

With climate change at the centre of global discussion, sustainability has never been more essential as industries look towards the future. Consequently, after undertaking a sustainability review of its in-store bakeries, Woolworths Group made the decision to assemble a cross-functional team to troubleshoot what had been described by a senior leader as “a sea of plastic on our shelves”. 

Through innovative approaches such as an ideation hackathon, gathering global insights from key suppliers, the team identified a new substrate made from a blend of sugar cane and bamboo fibres. With this innovation in mind, the team set about sourcing a groundbreaking new design, utilising a by-product of the sugar refining industry which it found could be transformed and reused in the makeup of pulp packaging.

Thanks to this project, Woolworths has replaced plastic trays with pulp-based trays nationally in all stores for over 50 bakery products. This quantity represents 75% of all products that were previously packed entirely in plastic within the bakery department. Overall, this new design has eradicated a commendable 265 tonnes of plastic per annum. A carbon offset plan has also been implemented to ensure the entire project is carbon neutral without material impacts on bakery profitability.