Drugstore Retailer dm Expands Refillable Packaging
4/8/2024 Retail Brands Industry Look into Europe Article

Drugstore Retailer dm Expands Refillable Packaging

As part of a pilot project in selected dm stores, customers can refill their food. Kerstin Erbe, dm Managing Director responsible for Product Management and Sustainability, explains in an interview with FACHPACK360° why the system can comply with product protection.

Woman fills reusable vessel at food refill station. The drugstore giant dm is testing filling stations for food in selected stores.
Nuts, lentils, spelt pasta, muesli, or coffee: in 15 selected dm stores in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, customers have the opportunity to package a selection of more than ten dmBio products themselves. The offer is a pilot project by dmBio, with which dm is testing an unpackaged system.
dm Managing director Kerstin Erbe with eyeglasses and long blonde hair. As dm Managing Director, Kerstin Erbe is responsible for Product Management and Sustainability.

Expanding the recycling system

“One of our goals at dm is to avoid packaging. After all, the packaging material that our customers don’t take home with them doesn’t have to be returned to the cycle. The easiest way to save on packaging is to offer our products unpackaged. The introduction of the dmBio filling station is, therefore, a logical next step with which we are gaining experience in the area of ‘unpackaged’. In doing so, we are responding to our customers’ wishes and enabling them to enjoy an individual and conscious shopping experience”, says dm Managing Director Kerstin Erbe, who is responsible for Product Management and Sustainability.

The loose dmBio products are available unpackaged at the usual price. At the new stations, customers can easily fill their own containers according to the desired quantity. Customers can bring either their own or use the deposit containers available at the dmBio filling station.

Short Interview

How can product protection be guaranteed if, for example, muesli is left unpacked for longer? And how is the aroma of coffee preserved?

Kerstin Erbe: When selling from our filling stations, the protection and quality of our dmBio products is our top priority. Thanks to the containers and the removal technology of our dmBio filling station, we ensure the product quality of our goods, protect them from external influences, and make sure that the aroma of coffee is preserved.

How are the containers cleaned?

Kerstin Erbe: The containers at the dmBio filling station are filled by the respective manufacturing partners of the dmBio products and sent from there to our distribution centers. They are then sealed airtight and sent to the respective dm stores, where they are placed in the dmBio filling station by the employees on site. Further work steps, such as decanting from other packaging, are not necessary, so that direct product contact is avoided. As soon as a container is empty, it is removed from the station and collected by our partner company MIWA, passes through MIWA's professional cleaning center and is then once more made available to the dmBio manufacturing partners. The concept thus represents a closed cycle.

Do nuts or other foodstuffs sometimes end up on the floor by mistake when customers fill their containers with goods themselves?

Kerstin Erbe: If something accidentally falls on the floor during the filling process at our dmBio filling station, this is cleaned up by our employees on site in the dm stores.