Pro/Con: Reusable Bags at the Supermarket
By Amy Peterson, RD, LD, Supermarket RD at Coborn’s Inc.
Today’s consumers are more environmentally conscious in their day-to day activities and their weekly trip to the supermarket is no exception. In some states and at specific retailers, bans or fees are being imposed to discourage the use of plastic bags all together. Although there are some great benefits, consumers need to be aware of the food safety concerns when making reusable bags part of their grocery shopping habits.
- Reducing Plastic Bags in Landfills: Reusable bags can be used time-and-time again, which limits the need of paper or plastic bags at each visit.
- Marketing Strategy: Retailers are using reusable bags as a marketing opportunity to showcase their brand in a fashionable bag that their customers carry with them on a weekly basis.
- Durability: The strong durability makes carrying those heavy groceries much easier.
The Con: FOOD SAFETY
Food safety is the primary concern when it comes to reusable bags. There are opportunities to communicate proper food safety when using reusable bags through in-store signage, employee education and social media marketing.
In-store signage can be a great opportunity to remind shoppers to separate their product. For example, you could have a food safety tip near the Meat & Seafood counter that shares proper cooking temperatures, proper transportation/bagging and storage. In-store signage can also take place at the point of sale of reusable bags or right at the checkout line. If your retailer offers to bag their customer’s groceries, it’s essential that those employees understand proper food safety bagging techniques.
Recently, at Coborn’s, we utilized our weekly Facebook Lives to share our top three tips for reusable bags: clean, separate, and store. Our video allowed us to show examples and give a quick tutorial for our guests. A video, a photo with a simple caption, or even a quick series on Instagram or Facebook Stories can be a creative way to reach many of your customers.
I encourage you to communicate with your retailer on how you can be involved in supporting the use of reusable bags while educating on the importance of food safety. These simple tips can be shared with guests in the aisles, on social media, and store tours. Here is a peek of our Facebook Live we did here at Coborn’s in Central Minnesota.
Home Food Safety. http://www.homefoodsafety.org/
Be Food Safe. http://www.befoodsafe.org/