has reduced the amount of plastic it uses to package branded snacks, such as popcorn and crisps, by taking away air.

The retail giant’s “Project Thin Air” is set to slash 75 tonnes of packaging each year, the equivalent of 152 lorries fewer lorries this year, through a redesign of 140 products. M&S says the redesign will not change the amount of food inside each pack.

The chain’s most popular popcorn range will see a 37 per cent decrease in size. Packaging for best selling crisps such as salt & vinegar and ready salted varieties will use 20 per cent less plastic thanks to a new, thinner plastic film.

“We’ve been working on this project for over a year and are really pleased with the results,” said Marks and Spencers packaging expert Laura Fernandez. “We very much see this as the start of a much bigger piece of work and hope to bring equally impressive savings to other areas of the business too.”   

At the beginning of the decade, M&S set out commitments to improve practices within the production chain, ranging from fishing to fairtrade chocolate. In 2012, M&S became the first retailer to become “carbon neutral”. The company also reportedly recycles 100 per cent of its waste. It has forged partnerships with Oxfam and actress Joanna Lumley in a bid to change shopper habits regarding the reuse and recycling of old clothing.

A slowdown in food sales spooked investors in M&S this month, a surprise given the boost handed to supermarkets thanks in large to the recent hot weather and inflation.

It has also been hampered by claims made by a over the use of refugee children making its clothing in Turkish factories.

There was, however, an improvement in the troubled clothes arm of the business.

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