Tesco has announced it is joining supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Lidl in making a change to some of its meat products.

The supermarket giant is introducing new packaging on some of its mince meat products in a bid to cut plastic consumption.

The supermarket is trialling the new packaging which uses 70% less plastic, on two lines: 500g Tesco Beef Lean Steak Mince 5% fat (£3.49) and Tesco Beef Mince 500g 20% fat (£2.49). If customers like the new pillow packs, Tesco will roll it out to more stores and across more lines.

South Wales Argus: The Tesco pillow packed mince meat being introduced in nine stores as part of a trialThe Tesco pillow packed mince meat being introduced in nine stores as part of a trial (Image: Tesco)

The packaging is being introduced in the following stores as part of the trial:

  • Borehamwood
  • Cheshunt
  • Epping
  • Hatfield
  • Hertford
  • Hornchurch
  • Ponders End
  • Potters Bar
  • Waltham Abbey

Dom Morrey, Tesco Commercial Director for Fresh, said: “As well as looking for great value when they shop, customers want to see less plastic packaging in their trolleys. Pillow packs are a win-win: they keep the mince in perfect condition while requiring much less plastic.

“Removing or reducing unnecessary plastic is an important way that Tesco can reduce its environmental impact. We're proud of what we have done so far but continue to look for ways to do more."

In a bid to avoid criticism levied at Sainsbury’s and Lidl for their changes, the mince meat will be pillow packed, rather than vacuum packed.

The switch to vacuum packed meat at the other supermarkets was branded “disgusting” and “unappetising” by shoppers.

Vicki Cole, from Huddersfield, told the BBC she was offered a refund in Nectar points after she complained the mince took her 40 minutes to cook, meaning it was tougher and chewier than before.

She said: “They’ve sucked all the air out and squashed it so it plopped out of the packet and into the frying pan in a big rectangular clump.

“As I started breaking it up with the wooden spatula it was staying in big balls that were cooking on the outside but not the inside.

“I get that we need to use less plastic. But unless they find an alternative that’s going to work they’re going to lose customers because I shan’t be buying it from there. They need to listen to the feedback.”

Another Sainsbury’s shopper tweeted that he was “not a fan of the new Sainsbury’s beef mince packaging,” adding: “Feels very medical – like I’ve just bought someone’s kidney to cook at home.”


Other online reviews read: “The new packaging is awful, it turns the mince into mush.

“It’s very hard to cook and smells off, looks very unappetising. Would not recommend.”

Richard Crampton, director of fresh food at Sainsbury’s, said: “We know customers expect us to reduce plastic packaging and we are committed to making bold changes for our customers and the environment.

“This small change makes a big difference, more than halving the plastic used in our beef mince range and also reducing food waste.

“We are always listening to feedback and can see lots of our customers are already getting used to the change.”