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Wakefern Food Corp. Joins Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag

Supermarket cooperative supports effort to build a better bag.

Wakefern Food Corp. recently announced it will join the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag and its Beyond the Bag Initiative, a collective effort that aims to identify, test and scale design solutions to make a more consumer-friendly, sustainable retail bag.

“For more than four decades the Wakefern Cooperative has supported sustainability through efforts such as recycling plastic bags and other materials, reducing food waste, and implementing energy efficient technology at retail and in our distribution centers. Encouraging our customers to use reusable bags to shop and reducing dependency on single use plastic and traditional paper bags is another important part of our commitment to the environment,” said Karen Meleta, Wakefern’s Chief Communications Officer. “We believe the best bag is a reusable bag and we are proud to work with fellow Consortium Partners and innovators to create an even better retail bag and further advance our waste reduction initiatives.”

The Beyond the Bag Initiative is a three-year effort to create sustainable and cost-effective retail bag solutions. 

The initiative brings together major retailers as Consortium Partners, including Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart, alongside other partners DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, Kroger, Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Meijer and Walgreens.

The Consortium also engages with stakeholders including suppliers, materials recovery facilities, municipalities, advocacy groups and others, to collectively identify viable market solutions that can scale, and bring value to retailers, customers and end markets.

The Consortium takes a holistic approach to identify and scale affordable, accessible and less wasteful retail bag alternatives.

Its initiative spans multiple complementary workstreams, spurring innovation, advancing materials recovery through infrastructure investments, and identifying best practices for policy and engaging consumers.

Wakefern, whose supermarket banners already carry a variety of reusable bags, looks forward to discovering even better, more sustainable designs for a better bag at checkout.

“Wakefern’s connection to the communities its stores serve, and its alignment with the Consortium’s broader vision, lays the essential foundation for meaningful impact at scale,” said Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners, which launched the Consortium. “We are thrilled to welcome Wakefern Food Corp. to the Consortium to help build more pathways for collaboration that will create and incentivize sustainable, long-term change for retail.”

More information about the Beyond the Bag Initiative can be found at closedlooppartners.com/beyond-the-bag.

About Wakefern Food Corp.

From a small, local cooperative that began with eight grocery store owners, Wakefern Food Corp. has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States.

Founded in 1946, the cooperative comprises nearly 50 member families who today independently own and operate 363 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Together with its member companies, Wakefern employs nearly 80,000 people and is one of the largest employers in New Jersey. For more information, please visit www.wakefern.com

About the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag

The Beyond the Bag Initiative, launched by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, aims to identify, pilot and implement viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag.

Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy launched the initiative with Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart.

Kroger joined as Grocery Sector Lead Partner, DICK’S Sporting Goods as Sports & Outdoors Sector Lead Partner, Dollar General as Value Sector Lead Partner and Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wakefern Food Corp. and Walgreens as Supporting Partners, alongside Conservation International and Ocean Conservancy as Environmental Advisory Partners. IDEO is the Consortium’s Innovation Partner.

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