As some Australian families strive for a plastic-free July others will be rushing to Coles and Woolworths to bag new plastic trinkets for their kids.
Coles is about to start handing out a new range of miniature grocery items it says are collector’s items.
From Wednesday every $30 spent will entitle shoppers to one mini grocery item, and they can even get plastic-lined display cases to store them in.
Coles says it’s bringing back the “incredibly cute” Little Shop promotion because the first one was a “phenomenon”.
Meanwhile, Woolies’ says its range of plastic collectibles to be launched in its stores on Wednesday can be recycled.
Its series of Lion King-themed pencil toppers/finger puppets are recyclable via yellow kerbside bins, or in-store where they’ll be given to a partner to make outdoor products such as fences.
Coles chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson says last year’s Little Shop campaign “brought to life the traditional hobby of collecting enjoyed by all generations”.
In the final half of 2018, after the first campaign, the retailer recorded a 2.0 per cent lift in revenue to $20.35 billion, largely due to a 3.1 per cent growth in supermarket sales boosted by Little Shop.
However, not everyone is feeling the Little Shop love, including Australian families who have signed up for Plastic Free July – a global movement that encourages households to refuse single-use plastics.
Supporters are incensed by the timing of the Coles announcement, which also comes about a month after Coles congratulated itself for diverting 1.7 billion lightweight single-use plastic bags from landfill since removing them from check outs a year prior.
“Wow.. Coles.. just wow.. You have just proved you really do not care for our children’s future by bringing these so called ‘collectables’ back,” Sara Coates wrote in launching a change.org petition urging customers to boycott Coles.
So far it’s attracted more than 11,300 signatures.
Coles does point out that the soft plastic wrappers its Little Shop items come in can be recycled when returned to collection points at supermarkets.
And Coles has released in-house research to back its claim that Little Shop items are being kept not dumped.
It said of the 2026 Coles customers surveyed online, 94 per cent said they still had their Little Shop minis from last year, or had given them to others who were collecting.