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UK: Lidl to trial on-shelf smart refills to help customers save money

Discount Retail Chain Lidl GB (owned by the German Schwarz Group) has become the first supermarket in the UK to offer customers access to an on-shelf smart refill machine. The compact machines will be located on-shelf in the store’s laundry detergent section. They will take up space equivalent to 66 standard own-private label brand 'Formil' single-use bottles but have the potential of filling over 245 individual pouches, increasing capacity by almost 300%.

Customers can pick up the pouch via the machine’s automated, touchscreen experience, choose their favourite detergent and follow the on-screen instructions. Lidl said the “innovative closed-fill” technology incorporated into the pouch cap allows customers to fill up with the cap still on, enabling faster filling while eliminating the chance of mess and spills.

The private label 'Formil' pouches contain a special chip that allows the machine to distinguish between new and reused refill pouches, so the customer gets their saving of 20p after their first use. The grocer said the refill solution offers customers the cheapest wash, allows them to save 59g of plastic per refill, and the small size of the machine optimises shelf space and the detergent transported in bulk packaging makes logistics more efficient.

“We are incredibly proud of this latest innovation, which will enable our customers to save money and reduce their plastic consumption,” Lidl CSR manager, Mark Newbold said. “We were the first UK supermarket to introduce smart laundry detergent refill stations and now we’re the first to introduce this next generation design.

“It’s our strong belief that good quality and value should go together. We are committed to providing our customers with cost saving solutions that can help their wallets and the planet.”

The trial will feature in Lidl’s Swadlincote, Lichfield and Kingswinford stores. This builds on an initial 6-month pilot of a larger, standing refill machine at the Kingswinford store, which resulted in positive customer feedback.


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