Anya Hindmarch's Universal Bag Is Coming To Tesco & Morrisons
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Anya Hindmarch’s Universal Bag Is Coming To Tesco & Morrisons

Meet the new generation of shopping bags

Over 15 years on from the brand’s first ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag’ campaign, Anya Hindmarch has launched a new campaign in collaboration with British supermarkets. Read on for all the details (and where to get your own Universal Bag).

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Anya Hindmarch’s Universal Bag Is Coming To Tesco & Morrisons

Blue and orange bags

British luxury brand Anya Hindmarch launched its ‘I Am Not A Plastic Bag’ campaign 16 years ago, with the goal to raise awareness of the worldwide single-use plastic bag predicament. Since then, the UK Government has introduced new legislation to tackle the issue, with sales of single-use plastic bags falling by 95 percent between 2015 and 2020 in our country alone – but still, an eye-watering half a billion were sold in the UK between 2021 and 2022.

To address the ongoing problem, Anya Hindmarch has collaborated with two food retailers on a new campaign: Asda and Co-op. The campaign, which showcases two new, reusable shopping bags (new versions of the Universal Bag), is hoped to sway public mindsets to continue using what they have for longer.

This marks the beginning of the Universal Bag rollout, with the project calling on all food retailers globally to get involved and create their own version of the Universal Bag in collaboration with Anya Hindmarch. The desired outcome? A new generation of shopping bags.

‘Since launching The Universal Bag, we have saved over 150 tonnes of virgin plastic from landfill, the equivalent weight of over 12 London double decker buses,’ said Anya Hindmarch. ‘The problem of single use plastic is far from solved. Working together with major global food retailers shows how the solution needs to be collaborative and that together we can make a big difference.’

What Makes The Universal Bag Better Than Plastic?

But why chose the Universal Bag instead of your shabby, single-use plastic one? Designed by Anya Hindmarch and manufactured by the Solent Group, the Universal Bag is made from 100 percent recycled plastic – with each step and material fully certified under the Global Recycling Scheme (GRS). This is a reusable bag that is guaranteed to last up to 10 years – and if it doesn’t quite live to see 10 years, or you simply wish to recycle the bag, you can fold it into its free returns pocket for a replacement. The built-in pocket acts as a pre-addressed envelope which you can pop through any letter box, so that it can be delivered to the correct address and recycled locally.

It features an extremely durable structure (perfect for lugging around cartons of milk and tins of beans), as well as a stylish design that elevates the typical shopping bag. And who doesn’t want to look good while browsing the aisles for produce?

Woman holding navy bag

‘Both Anya and Solent have a shared heritage in creating and producing market disrupting initiatives that help customers to lead healthier and more sustainable lives,’ said Ashley Simons, CEO of Solent. ‘We are delighted to have partnered with Anya and her team on the Universal Bag which further supports the reduction and need for single use plastics.

‘The Universal Bag is a beautiful and high performing product that encourages customers to buy into reusability and sustainability; it’s not a bag you’d ever feel comfortable throwing in the bin. Given the durability of the bag, ideally, it will never need to be recycled but, if it does, we have made it easy for the customer to get it back into the recycling stream – a process that has never been done before. The Universal Bag is a true market first and another step change in our mission to end single use plastic bag usage for one and for all.’

What’s The Difference Between The Universal Bags?

The Universal Bag will be available in multiple supermarkets across the UK, following editions unveiled in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Selfridges Food Halls. The design, a reusable bag with a striped handle, is the same structurally but comes in different colours to better reflect each retailer’s identity.

Woman holding orange bag

Tesco & Morrisons Universal Bags

The Tesco bag will be available in the store’s core brand colours, making it blue with red handles. It will be available in 250 stores nationwide. ‘We are absolutely delighted to come together with Anya Hindmarch and create a Universal Bag in a colourway that is exclusively available in Tesco Stores,’ said Jana Marchant, CEO of Home and Clothing at Tesco. ‘Anya has been at the forefront of the plastic bag reduction campaign for many years, and here at Tesco, we are always looking at ways to reduce the amount of plastic we use. Since 2019, we have removed over 2 billion tonnes of plastic from our operation, including over 200 million plastic bags from our Tesco deliveries alone. This is why we were passionate to team up with Anya to bring such a fantastic product to our customers in such an appealing colourway that I am sure our customers will love.’

The Morrisons version of the Universal Bag, meanwhile, will feature a yellow base with green handles and be available in 400 stores across the UK. Rachel Eyre, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer at Morrisons, commented: ‘We’re thrilled to partner with Anya Hindmarch on the Universal Bag project and support such an important issue. We are committed to reducing our plastic use and were the first supermarket to introduce paper “bags for life”. It’s an issue our customers and colleagues are extremely passionate about so we are excited to see the Morrisons x Anya Hindmarch tote land in our stores and we will be proud to spot it out and about too!’

When & Where Can You Get The Universal Bag?

The seventh and eighth editions of the Universal Bag are available in Tesco and Morrisons stores now. The bags retail for £10 each.

Previous Bags

Asda & Co-Op Universal Bags

The Asda and Co-op Universal Bags hit stores earlier this year, in February and March respectively. The bags retailed for £10 each.

For Asda, a green Universal Bag became available in 300 stores nationwide. Speaking on the collaboration, Sam Dickson, Acting Chief Customer Officer at ASDA, commented: ‘We’re thrilled to partner with Anya Hindmarch on the Universal Bag project and support such an important issue. The opportunity to create our own exclusive version meant we were able to give our customers a great quality, sustainable product, in our trademark ‘Asda green’! I’m sure shoppers will be very excited at the prospect of picking up an Anya Hindmarch bag in store during their weekly shop and we can’t wait to see the response.’

Green and blue bag stacked on top of each other

And when it came to Co-op, the bag was designed in a light shade of blue in 315 stores across the UK. ‘Co-op champions a better way of doing business and sustainability is front and centre of the decisions we make,’ added Kenyatte Nelson, Chief Membership & Customer Officer at Co-op. ‘In 2021, we made the bold and right move to ban plastic ‘bags for life’ from sale in our convenience stores offering our shoppers compostable bags and durable, re-usable alternatives. Our collaboration with Anya Hindmarch and the Universal Bag project is another way in which we can engage and incentivise our members and customers to encourage them to shop more sustainably.’

Will There Be More Bags?

Anya Hindmarch has indicated that there will be more global partnerships announces later this year, so non-UK natives should keep their eyes peeled for future news on the Universal Bag.

Images courtesy of Anya Hindmarch