Friday 30th November 2018
After an enormous amount of work from a dedicated Pret team, I’m pleased to say that we have launched the first full ingredient labelling pilot in a shop in Victoria this week. It’s the latest in a series of changes we’ve been making to Pret’s allergy policies since we first learned of Natasha’s tragic death in the spring of 2017. I know that sticking labels on sandwich boxes may seem simple, and you may be wondering why we don't just get on with it. The reason is that we have to make sure the process is safe, practical and effective. The wrong label on the wrong sandwich can be worse than no label at all. Our teams make our sandwiches and salads in small batches (typically around 12 to 15 at a time) throughout the day in over 350 different Pret kitchens all over the country. We have to perfect the process to minimise the chance of human error.
The early versions of the labels are a bit clunky and the pace is slow – but that’s to be expected. We will refine the labels, make sure they go onto a sensible place on the packs, and take a good look at technology solutions as well. That’s why we are testing different approaches before we roll out new labels nationwide.
We’ll keep improving the process and the labels over the coming weeks, and this first approach might not be the final version. We’ll be using the pilots to listen to our customers, especially people with allergies, and learn what they like and don’t like.
Team members prepare products in small batches
Batch codes are scanned to print the correct labels
Full ingredient labels being printed
Speed is of the essence, but so is developing a process that is safe to use. Running pilots now will make the national launch much quicker and easier. We’ll be sharing the learnings with the Government and wider industry. Meanwhile, please do visit our Verde shop and let me know what you think.