Aussie supermarket offers Little Shop 2 figurines, will New Zealand stores follow?

Australians are calling the plastic toy a "slap-in-the-face".
Australians are calling the plastic toy a "slap-in-the-face". Photo credit: 7 News

Australian supermarket chain Coles is facing waves of criticism for giving away "plastic junk" with purchases during Plastic-free July.

The store introduced Little Shop 2 last week, a new version of the hugely popular Little Shop plastic figurines. The collectables were also available in New Zealand's New World supermarkets from 2013.

Australian customers are shocked at the timing of the announcement, which comes just three weeks after Coles claimed it had diverted 1.7 billion lightweight single-use plastic bags from landfill, according to Australian Food News.

The release of the products also lands in the middle of Plastic-free July, a global movement that encourages households to refuse single-use plastic bags.

A petition was started by Sydney woman Sara Coates, and is circulating throughout Australia.

The petition, which has currently been signed by more than 50,000 people, calls for the chain to stop giving out "plastic junk" to children under the guise of a promotion.

"Wow... Coles... just wow... You have proved you really do not care for our children's future by bringing these so-called 'collectables' back," Coates writes.

"This is when most people are doing their best to bring their own bags, choosing less packaging on their food and saying no to straws."

Coates calls the promotion a "slap-in-the-face" and urges customers to "use their wallets as voices".

New World's parent company Foodstuffs says despite the popularity of Little Shop figurines in New Zealand, the company's focus is on the future.

"Our focus for the future is leading in sustainability, and although very cute and fun to play with, little plastic figurines aren’t what our customers are asking from us in 2019," a Foodstuffs spokesperson told Newshub.

"We are always looking for ways to inspire and reward our customers which strike the right balance of sustainability, New World spirit and most importantly, fun."

Meanwhile, Little Shop fanatics can still get their figurine fix as there are still many products for sale on sites like Trade Me.

Newshub.

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