RICHMOND, Va. -- In a new store opening here this month, Ukrop's Super Markets will be using two-tier shopping carts that can accommodate plastic "Greenbox" bins designed to carry groceries in lieu of paper and plastic bags.
Ukrop's, based here, has offered the shopping carts and bins, both from Instore Products Limited, Mississauga, Ontario, for up to five years in 12 of its other 28 existing stores. In those 12 stores and in the new outlet, which opens May 25, the two-tier cart has replaced traditional shopping carts. The two-tier carts hold up to five of the Greenbox bins.
Ukrop's no longer actively promotes use of the Greenbox bins, aimed at helping the environment by reducing use of plastic and paper grocery bags. The bins are available in only a few stores (not including the new one), though interest in the bins may be revived by a recent propositions in San Francisco for a 17 cent bag "tax" on grocery bags.
Shoppers who use the bins purchase them for $2, Ukrop's cost, and use them in the cart and to transport goods to their homes, bringing them back on the next trip. The highest rate on bin usage has been 380 to 400 per week, said Dan Beran, senior director of purchasing, Ukrop's.
Ukrop's also offers a 4 cent per bag rebate to shoppers who return bags. Less than 5% of shoppers return their bags for rebates, Beran said.
Even without the bins, Ukrop's have found that shoppers like the two-tier shopping carts better than traditional carts. "They like putting their 'crushables' -- perishables, bread -- in the top area, and use the bottom as a pile-up area," Beran said.
"We're still purchasing the [two-tier] carts because it differentiates us, customers seem to like them, and we like them," he said.
The two-tier carts cost retailers between $110 and $120 each, based on volume, said David MacAleese, president of Instore Products, adding that traditional carts average about $90 apiece.