2023, the year that must change the way grocery shops sell
A year ago, the Law 7/2022, of April 8, on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy, was published, an expected regulation on waste since it was a pending signature regarding the transposition into the state regulations of Directive (EU) 2018/851, as well as Directive (EU) 2019/904.
At the end of 2022, the Royal Decree 1055/2022, of December 27, on packaging and packaging waste is approved, and it details some measures already contemplated in the State Law and that affect food stores.
Food stores must incorporate from the beginning of 2023:
- Inform about the return of reusable packaging and the separation of packaging waste, recommend reusable
- bags and inform about the availability in the trade of reusable packaging, also on e-commerce platforms and
retailers selling at a distance (3).
- Accept the use of reusable containers (bags, containers, bottles, among others) food establishments that sell food and beverages in bulk (4 and 5).
- Establishments with an area equal to or greater than 400 m2 must dedicate 20% of their sales area to the offer of products presented without primary packaging, including sale in bulk or through reusable packaging. This includes large stores operating on the island (2).
- Present in bulk those fresh fruits and vegetables that are marketed whole. There will be exceptions, the list must be submitted at the latest by the end of June 2023 and businesses will have six more months, until the end of 2023, to adapt (1).
Referred articles from Royal Decree 1055/2022, of 27 December, on packaging and packaging waste:
(1) Article 7.4.1. Food retailers shall take the necessary measures to:
a) Present in bulk those fresh fruits and vegetables that are marketed whole.
This obligation does not apply to fruit and vegetables packed in lots of 1,5 kilograms or more, nor to fruit and vegetables which are packaged under a protected or registered variety or bear a differentiated quality or organic farming indication, as well as to fruit and vegetables which present a risk of deterioration or decay when sold in bulk, which will be determined by order of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, in coordination with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge and the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, within six months from the entry into force of this royal decree. Once the above list has been published, shops will have a period of six months to adapt them in the case of non-exempted fruit and vegetables.
(2) Article 7.4.1. b) Encourage the bulk sale of food, especially in cases where the packaging does not add any value to the product.
To this end, food retailers with a surface area equal to or greater than 400 square metres shall allocate at least 20 % of their sales area to the supply of products presented without primary packaging, including sale in bulk or by means of reusable packaging. For the purposes of the provisions of this section, the sales area shall be understood as the exhibition and sales area exclusively intended for food products, in which the conditions are met to promote the sale in bulk or with reusable containers, excluding all common areas for the normal operation of the establishment. For the purposes of calculating the percentage, the areas in which products are offered in bulk or through reusable containers will be taken into account, as well as the spaces necessary for
its preparation, transit, presentation and weighing.
(3) Article 7.4.1. c) Inform its customers, from January 1, 2023, of the environmental impacts and the obligations to manage the waste of the packaging of the products they acquire, provided that they have a useful area for exhibition and sale to the public equal to or greater than 300 square meters. In particular, they shall report at least one place
Highlights of the establishment itself, on the following aspects:
1.º Consumer obligations regarding the return of reusable packaging and the separation of packaging waste in the different containers or collection points established, in accordance with the form of management established in this Royal Decree.
2.º Promotion of reusable bags, and optimization of the use of single-use bags, to reduce unnecessary consumption of these containers.
3.º Information on the availability in the trade of reusable packaging, as well as on the possibility of using reusable containers by the consumer in accordance with the provisions of article 9.3.
These obligations shall also apply to e-commerce platforms and retailers carrying out distance sales, which shall prominently inform the medium used for the sale.
(4) Article 9.3. All food establishments that sell food and beverages in bulk must accept the use of reusable containers (bags, containers, bottles, among others) suitable for the nature of the product purchased and properly sanitized, with consumers being responsible for their conditioning and cleaning. Such containers may be refused by the trader for service if they are manifestly dirty or unsuitable. To this end, the point of sale must inform the final consumer about the conditions of cleanliness and suitability of the reusable containers, being exempt from responsibility for food safety problems that may arise from the use of the containers provided by consumers.
(5) Article 9.3. Likewise, retail stores with a useful area for exhibition and sale to the public equal to or greater than 300 square meters will ensure the availability of reusable packaging for the final consumer, free of charge or through the collection of a price.