In addition to encouraging customers to purchase local, in-season produce, a new sustainable food store in Austin, Texas called in.gredients will also be America’s first zero-waste grocery store.
Rather than packaging food in boxes, plastic containers or bottles, the store gives patrons three choices: 1. Customers bring their owns containers to fill up, 2. customers can purchase reusable containers, or 3. customers can purchase compostable containers.
In addition to reducing landfill waste, the company will help change individual shopping habits, lifestyles, and therefore the collective actions of the communities they’re in. Part of the in.gredients vision is to help customers shop without a consumer mentality; rather than buy a product based on its packaging or branding, their hope is that people will purchase their food based on natural qualities like appearance, texture and fragrance.
in.gredients was launched by three brothers — Christian, Joseph, and Patrick Lane — as well as their “brothers-in-spirit” Christopher Pepe and Brian Nunnery who used online crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo to raise $15,455 and gain exposure to help launch the idea. The owners continue to stay “social” and involved with the community as the Lane brothers believe that educating people on nutrition and environmental responsibility are critical to making a lasting difference. Part of their offerings include cooking classes by local chefs, gardening classes by local farmers and classes on rainwater collection and homebrewing.
“Package-free and zero-waste are new frontiers in the grocery industry, so we’re pioneers in relatively uncharted territory,” in.gredients explains their mission. “Because of this our ethos can’t be fully reflected by our business model, since local regulations, consumer demand, public perception, and the norms of the food industry are not aligned in pursuit of a common goal or always interested in sustainability. Nothing in.gredients does as a store, therefore, can be the perfect sustainable shopping option in your area – but we want to be the absolutely best option.”
They are committed to only selling products free of artificial dyes and preservatives, including fresh produce, dairy products, dry bulk food items that range from grains to coffee, liquid bulk foods like oils and vinegars, proteins like meat and tofu, baby food, reusable products like bags and containers, local alcohol, household cleaners and a ready-to-eat section that allows hungry shoppers to eat right in store.
Rather than compete with supermarkets, the founders of in.gredients explain that a “brand new business model will exist in opposition to what’s normal in the grocery business because what’s normal isn’t healthy for our customers. We care about the future health of our community and local food economy, and can’t provide that by mimicking popular supermarket behavior.”
What do you think of this concept? Would you bring your own containers to shop if an in.gredients existed in your neighbourhood?