LONDON — Mars Pet Nutrition is taking the next step to reduce its single-use plastic packaging in Europe. The company announced Nov. 16 it has partnered with Carrefour in Montesson, France, to test a bulk packaging concept for select pet food and treat products.

This new pilot partnership with Carrefour will offer the company’s PERFECT FIT dry cat foods, CATISFACTIONS and WHISKAS products, as well as treats, in bulk. The partnership falls within the scope of France’s National Pact on Plastic Packaging, through which cross-industry stakeholders are collaborating to deliver on circular economy solutions.

Through the partnership, shoppers at Carrefour’s hypermarket in Montesson will be provided with reusable or single-use containers for filling (and re-filling) pet food via on-site refill dispensers. Product information can be found through QR codes displayed on each dispenser. According to Mars Pet Nutrition, the solution not only provides a more circular solution for pet food packaging, but also allows pet owners to purchase the exact quantity needed for their pets.

“Packaging waste is a global problem and does not align with Mars’ vision for a world where the planet is healthy,” said Deri Watkins, regional president of Mars Pet Nutrition Europe. “That’s why we continue to take action to support a circular economy, for a world where packaging materials do not become waste, but ultimately are reused, recycled or composted. Moving forward, we will continue to transform our business in ways that help protect our environment and care for people and pets by engaging with our trade partners and using our influence to drive change at scale.”  

According to Mars Petcare, roughly 45% of pet owners prefer sustainable packaging, and another 60% are actively seeking ways to reduce their plastic use.

“Our packaging transformation journey focuses on doing what’s right for the pet parents we serve, the pets we love and the planet we all share,” said Helen Warren-Piper, chief growth officer at Mars Pet Nutrition Europe. “We’re excited to bring innovative and sustainable options to pet parents who are not only looking for high-quality and delicious pet food, but also seeking ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Through the initiatives we’re rolling out across Europe, we’re glad to be part of this equation.”  

The company has packaging redesigns underway for its leading brands, including SHEBA, WHISKAS, PERFECT FIT and CATSAN, which are intended to save 480 tons of plastic from landfills annually. So far in 2022, Mars Pet Nutrition Europe has transitioned its SHEBA and PERFECT FIT products to Mini Pouches, which replaces plastic flow-wraps with recyclable, high-performing paper sleeves. The company has also replaced its WHISKAS plastic dry food bags with carton boxes across Europe. In France, Mars Pet Nutrition has removed an unnecessary layer of plastic in the secondary packaging for its CATSAN litter brand.

These efforts build on Mars Pet Nutrition Europe’s 2021 plastic reduction efforts, through which it removed 170 tons of plastic from its packaging across Europe last year alone.

“As part of our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, we have set a data-driven, science-based strategy to reimagine and redesign our packaging, in line with circular economy principles,” said Graeme Smith, sustainable packaging director at Mars Petcare. “As we work to evolve our product packaging, we’re also driving several progressive waste management partnerships through investments and industry collaboration. We are proud to join forces with Carrefour in France, as bulk purchasing enables the use of less packaging while also supporting consumers in making sustainable choices.”

Mars, Inc. is also working toward a global goal of transitioning to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging. The company is also working to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire supply chain by 2050, through the use of renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, and restructuring supply chains to stop deforestation.

Read more about sustainability efforts in the pet food and treat industry.