As part of a wider effort to improve the sustainability of its private-brand product packaging by using less plastic, Wegmans Food Markets has introduced new egg cartons. Previously made from polystyrene foam, the new packaging is made of 100% post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products. By switching from foam to molded fiber cartons, Wegmans said that it will eliminate 625,000 pounds of foam from its stores annually.
“We decided to make the switch to paper pulp cartons, because we heard from customers that wanted a fiber, paper option,” noted Ron Indovina, Wegmans’ dairy and frozen category merchant.
Indovina collaborated with the grocer’s sustainability team and its egg supplier, Clarence, N.Y.-based Kreher Family Farms, to find a new carton. In April 2021, the paper pulp cartons rolled out at Wegmans stores in Massachusetts for an eight-week test. As a result of the success of the pilot, the cartons launched company-wide early this summer. All Wegmans brand eggs now come in a paper pulp carton that’s recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.
“We are eliminating foam packaging wherever possible,” observed Packaging and Sustainability Category Merchant Jason Wadsworth. “It’s not widely recyclable and never will be. The new cartons are a better option and are more widely recycled.”
The grocer has promised “more exciting changes as we continue our work to improve our product packaging in the future.”
Family-owned Wegmans operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 PG 100 list of the top grocers in the United States.