Nestlé has announced that it is piloting reusable and refillable dispensers for soluble coffee, as part of its efforts to reduce single-use packaging.

The in-store dispensers enable consumers to bring reusable containers which they can refill with different types of Nescafé soluble coffee. The dispensers are also being piloted with Purina cat food. 

According to Nestlé, its system offers consumers a shopping experience that is free of single-use packaging yet flexible and provides a variety of product choice.

In addition, consumers can digitally access product information that is typically found on packaging, such as ingredients, nutritional values and shelf life.

Working in collaboration with the technology start-up MIWA, Nestlé recently piloted the reusable and refillable dispensers in three Nestlé shops located in Rorschach, Orbe and La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland.

During the four-month trial period, Nestlé said the dispensers were well received by consumers and enabled the company to gain valuable insights such as its user-friendliness.

In the next few months, the dispensers are being rolled out across more locations to further assess their effectiveness in preventing packaging waste along the supply chain.

Hélène Lanctuit, R&D packaging lead at Nestlé, said: “Packaging plays a key role in maintaining food safety during a product’s shelf life. This means that whenever new packaging systems are explored we need to ensure that our products can be delivered to consumers in a safe and hygienic manner.

“These dispensers are novel because they incorporate smart technology which allows us to ensure product safety, and also guarantee the freshness and traceability of our products.”

Earlier this year, Nestlé announced that it will invest up to CHF 2 billion ($2.08 billion) in sustainability projects including the development of innovative sustainable packaging solutions.

As part of its actions to reduce the use of virgin plastics by one third by 2025, the company announced a pilot test for Refill Plus, a water dispenser which allows consumers to personalise their water with sixty-four flavour combinations.

Additionally, mini dispensers for Nescafé and Milo are reportedly available for the out-of-home segment in many countries around the world.

In partnership with Terracycle, Nestlé is also rolling out Loop, a subscription home delivery service in the US for foods and household goods with reusable packaging, and will also introduce it soon in France. In 2019, Häagen-Dazs was chosen as the official ice cream partner for the Loop pilot project in New York.