Sainsbury’s was berated after a picture of the coconut, which comes with a cardboard stand for better presentation, plastic ring pull and straw, was posted on Twitter.
The Genuine Coconut costs £3 in store – but non-packaged coconuts retail at 80p. The image has been re-tweeted more than 50 times with the hashtag #EnvironmentalVandalism.
User Alex Morss (@morss_alex) said: “100% unnecessary #plastic packaging on a coconut.
“How do you get away with calling this ‘organic’ @sainsburys?! “Your store endorses this by selling it, and so encourages customers to make unsustainable choices. “Your sustainability plan claims you want to reduce waste. Coconuts last longest naked, in their natural packaging, as research shows.”
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Organic food must be recyclable and “strive to avoid all unnecessary packaging” to meet EU standards, according to organicfood.co.uk.
Alex added: “Fruits, nuts and seeds have evolved their own natural packaging, which has done the job well for millennia.
“How is replacing a coconut’s perfectly good shell with unsustainable plastic wrapping, a single-use plastic straw & cardboard ‘striving to avoid all unnecessary packaging’?”
Alan Shenton said in response: “How long has this ridiculousness been going on?! “Totally unnecessary – particularly as coconuts come in their own rather sturdy packaging! A perfect example of #pointlessplastics.”
Rob Acton-Campbell added: “That is just mad. The whole idea of the ring pull and the cup is ridiculous. What next plastic zips on bananas?”
The coconuts are supplied by Genuine Coconut, which writes on its website: “We don’t manufacture a product, we bring nature to the consumer, and we do so efficiently and sustainably.”
The coconut is said to originate from the heart of Thailand, “where coconuts grow naturally and organically in a select area bathed by two of the biggest rivers” in the country.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “As Genuine Coconut has made clear, this product is organic and recyclable.”
Dr Laura Foster, head of pollution at Marine Conservation Society, said: “We want to see a reduction of plastic packaging and its global pollution problem. In the case of coconuts, they already come fabulously wrapped by nature and people can easily avoid using single use plastic while still enjoying the fruit. We campaign that all retailers look at the products they sell and how they can help consumers make better and more informed choices to reduce the growing issue of plastic pollution.”
“We are finding shocking amounts of plastic on our beaches and in our seas, which is why we are calling on Governments to stop this plastic tide. While consumers can take a stance and not buy products wrapped in plastic, we urgently need the government to introduce a levy to minimise its use.”