Thursday, 9 April 2009

Plastic-free Easter Eggs from Nestlé UK

With Easter now upon us, it's interesting to hear the news from Nestlé that they've reduced packaging across the entire Easter egg range by 30%, and have gone plastic-free on nearly all the range.

According to Nestlé, it's the first time a big manufacturer has done so, and it's in response to consumers requesting these kind of changes, a move that is expected to save almost 700 tonnes of waste this year.

The company has conducted research into consumer attitudes to Easter eggs, and it turns out that British consumers are pretty eco-minded. More than half of Brits admit they have previously been put off Easter treats by excessive packaging (55%), but half of shoppers questioned said they would actually ditch their usual egg in favour of one with reduced packaging (51%). Two thirds of UK adults will be giving Easter eggs this year (64%), with the average Brit handing out two and a half eggs each.

Other interesting statistics are shared below.

*All small and medium eggs (80% of Nestlé's total range), from favourite brands such as SMARTIES®, KIT KAT®, AERO® and MILKY BAR®, will now come in a cardboard basket, which is easily recyclable

*Nestlé is also providing clear recycling information on the back of the boxes to help consumers

*The sweets inside SMARTIES® and MILKY BAR® small eggs have also had their plastic packaging removed

*Because eggs are more compact, the move will save 48,000 road miles in transporting Easter eggs

*The 30% reduction exceeds the WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) industry agreement to reduce medium egg carton weight by 25%

*Overall waste from all Easter eggs sold in UK in 2006 - 4,500 tonnes p.a. WRAP

*Waste saved by Nestlé's packaging reduction: 700 tonnes in 2009

*Nestlé sells one in four of the UK's Easter eggs Neilsen, data to w/e 22 March 08

*Easter chocolate sales represent 10% of Britain's annual chocolate sales

*Nestlé Confectionery will produce 25 million chocolate eggs for Easter 2009


  1. Hi Karen,

    Three cheers for Nestle and their Zero Waste contribution, not to mention the increased packaging efficiency for transport. The great thing from my point of view is that these breakthrough Eggs could signal the end of plastic in Easter Eggs eventually. Meantime, we all have a Zero Waste option.

  2. Great to hear about Nestle's move to decreased packaging!! :)

    /so recyclable cardboard & aluminum foil are used for the big eggs, would love to hear about what exactly the tiny bars are made of, & what packaging is used!:)/

    Would be interesting to know if the eggs are additive-free or at least have reduced artificial additives/flavourings/etc too..? :)
    /a girl can hope.. :)/

  3. Layla,

    The KitKat Egg chocolate bars have ultra fine plastic foil, with metallic ink interiors. Tinfoil would be one alternative but that is hardly ever used in the UK, though was used before the plastic era.

  4. Layla - the additive-free query might be one someone from nestle could answer if they should be looking in.

    John - I still lament over the loss of foil and paper to plastic. As you know, my purchase decisions for chocolate favours those that are packaged in foil\paper or card. So it was goodbye to kitkats a long time ago! At least as far as Nestle are concerned Smarties pass through the net as an odd treat for the kids, thanks to the packaging and reduction of additives.

  5. Karen, the upsurge in Zero Waste chocolate for Easter can lead to further change even outwith the Egg world. It is down to suppliers to follow Nestle's example and think non-plastic. We will definitely support such efforts as we have done with other Zero Waste alternatives.

  6. John, thanks!

    I'm a bit confused with some of these plastic foils with metal color.. some even carry recycling symbols & numbers, I do wonder how recyclable & really recycled they are..

    Karen, let's see what they say? :)
    I've been allergic to artificial additives as a kiddie already, so this is of interest to me.. & I'd be happy to support additive-free (and zero waste) options!!

  7. We're glad you're pleased with the progress on Easter egg packaging, and it's something we're keen to continue next year.

    With regard to the additives point: the focus of our confectionery division to is make great-tasting treats that can be enjoyed as part of a varied, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Over the last few years we’ve been improving the nutritional profile of our products and the removal of additives is part of that process.

    In 2006 Smarties moved to a new 'no artificial colours' recipe (remember the return of the famous blue Smartie?) and since September 2007 Milkybar has been made entirely from natural ingredients.

    Hope that helps!

  8. Liz,

    Do you have plans to address the larger sizes of Eggs to provide the complete range? This would set a standard which others would follow.

    Smarties, with card pack, are Zero Waste which makes them almost unique. Further change, particularly in chocolate wraps, would be welcome, though this is a bigger challenge.

  9. Hi Liz, thanks for that. I recall seeing the adverts now. Great stuff. It's this kind of move that makes it so much easier for parents.

  10. This is very good news and it's great to see Liz popping over to answer our questions.

    Over on My Zero Waste today, we have a question and answer session from Nancy Powell, CSR manager of Nestlé UK

    She has stepped up to answer the questions put to her from our readers:

    Q1 What’s Nestlé’s long term aim or ultimate ambition when it comes to Easter egg packaging?

    Q2 What are the plans to make the large eggs plastic free?

    Q3 What are the plans around US Easter eggs?

    Q4 People have been used to huge Easter egg packaging for many years; it is deemed a way of getting value for money. Do you think your reduced packaging will affect sales adversely or do you think it will boost them because more people are supporting companies who promote environmental issues?

    Q5 What about the ethical points raised around cocoa and baby milk?

    You can find the interview here:

  11. This is the whole point of our collaborations, Mrs Green, with direct business contacts to promote the Zero Waste message. Other interested parties should read the Nestle reply on MyZeroWaste.

    Mentioning other concerns people have with Nestle is very worthwhile as dialogue can lead to better undestanding, and practice.

  12. I agreed with your opinion.You give a very good concept of eggs and manager their business.In my point of view this is those products which are have more chances of broken.


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