Food Lover’s Market bans plastic bags in all corporate stores

Food Lovers Market, South Africa’s leading fresh produce retailer, today confirmed its continued commitment to a plastic-free shopping experience with the announcement that it has banned plastic bags completely, as of 01 December 2019, in all national corporate stores and will only be offering paper bags, boxes and Food Lovers Market canvas bags. This is after the successful implementation of paper straws in 2018 and the positive response to the implementation of a ban on plastic bags in Western Cape stores during 2019.

This is a natural progression from the free farmers’ boxes that Food Lovers Market has been offering consumers for 25 years and the branded Food Lovers Market boxes that’s been available in stores for the past few years.

Says Siglinda Lösch, Sustainability Manager for the Food Lovers Market Group, “As a retailer – firmly committed to living our values of embracing our responsibility to the environment and climate change – it was a no-brainer to implement a ban on plastic bags in our corporate stores nationally.

“The response from consumers has been overwhelmingly positive as the paper bag itself is very strong and can be used seven times on average, carrying weight of about 10kg.”


In line with the festive season, Food Lovers Market has also decided to include some additional designs. The Under An African Sky paper bag ties in with the Food Lovers Markets festive campaign which focuses on Southern Hemisphere festive entertaining and feasting, incorporating a vibrant shweshwe aesthetic in its design. These will only be available at Food Lovers Market “Christmas Stores”. The rest of the country will enjoy a limited edition summer-themed paper bag, which will be available until next year. The Christmas stores are Knysna, Parklands, Somerset West, Tokai, Willowbridge, Access Park, N1 City, George, Mosselbay and Hermanus in the Western Cape. Gauteng stores are Bruma, Gateway, Hillfox, Woodlands, Comaro Crossing, Menlyn, Montana, Newmarket, Norwood and Nicolway.

Further to the ban on plastic bags, Food Lovers Market is also introducing reduced plastics on some festive bakery range items. Cake rounds (of which there are four variants) and loaves (of which there are 3 variants) will not have plastic domes or bases and have been replaced with a board box. Additionally, the cakes are wrapped in cellophane to keep it fresh.

Finally, as the retailer looks to 2020, the gourmet butchery counters of three Western Cape-based stores – Willowbridge, Brackenfell and Pinehurst – are all trialling biodegradable trays with fully recyclable cling film. Shoppers have been invited to give the retailer feedback on their experience with the new reduced plastic offering at these three gourmet butchery counters, with the expectation of rolling this out to other gourmet butchery counters next year.

Says Lösch, “In line with the group’s sustainability practices, Food Lovers Market is committed to creating a positive environmental footprint. From energy to waste, packaging to water, the retailer understands and embraces the responsibility of running a business in the most sustainable way possible – introducing plastic-free options is part of this journey.”

“The paper bags – included the Christmas and Limited Edition versions, boxes and paper straw initiatives are a welcome addition to the Food Lover’s Market shopping experience as it aligns naturally with other plastic-free shopping options in-store. We would like to thank shoppers for coming along on this plastic-free journey and embracing these initiatives with so much positivity.”

How to shop plastic-free in a Food Lover’s Market:

The various plastic-free solutions available in Food Lovers Market stores include: 

  • Food Lovers Market paper bags cost R2.20
  • Food Lovers Market has always offered free farmers boxes at till points (when available) and, in recent years, have offered sturdier branded boxes for R15.
  • Some Food Lovers Markets have olive oil and water in dispensers – consumers are encouraged to bring their own container for refills.
  • Food Lovers Market is known for amazing value deals on bulk fresh produce. Buying in bulk is a great way to cut down on unnecessary plastics.
  • Consider purchasing your fruit and veg from the bins and not pre-packaged as it cuts down on the use of packaging.
  • Food Lovers Market stores welcome the use of ‘keep cups’ at it’s Seattle Coffee Co stores, as well as the in-store smoothie and juice departments. Seattle Coffee Co incentivises the use of the ‘keep cup’ by giving consumers a 10% discount at its cafes and R2 off when buying a Seattle coffee at a Freshstop at Caltex.

Finally, Food Lovers Market has a reusable shopper that can be bought in store for the low price point of R19.99 – this can be reused with each shop and has exceptional longevity.



Image credit: The Health Alignment