What do you get when you combine clever marketing, a cute shop, delicious and beautiful food, and eliminate the packaging? A genius idea we wish we had thought of first! Unpackaged is a boutique grocery shop in London that works like the bulk food section of your local store, relying on you, the customer, to bring in your own packaging as a way to eliminate waste. The store sells everything from nuts, flour, sugar, beans, herbs and spices, to oils, vinegars, produce, cheese, bread and even wine! With strict eco-policies on where their source their food, Unpackaged is one of the most environmentally friendly grocery stores we’ve seen.
Started by Catherine Conway in 2006, Unpackaged was a small market stall that became so popular that Conway decided to open up a full-fledged shop. The store sells almost all their goods out of bulk bins and the packaged items they do carry are minimal and easily recyclable. It’s certainly not as large as most grocery stores, and it doesn’t carry multiple brands of one item — in fact the store doesn’t carry many well-known brands (except for the wines).
Why unpackaged? Three reasons: first, it’s cheaper to buy and sell things in bulk, since the extra cost of packaging isn’t passed on to you. Second, packaging is a waste of resources and time, and requires extra fuel to transport that weight. Finally, packaging is really just trash and causes pollution because it is so often sent to the landfill.
At Unpackaged, customers are asked to bring their own reusable containers, like bags, bottles, jars, etc to fill up on the items they want. If you happen to forget a bag, the store has extra reusable bags for you to borrow. Check out their list of products they carry so you can plan your trip appropriately and bring enough containers. All of their wares are either certified organic, or from a known and trusted source that engages in sustainable practices. Additionally, they source fair trade goods and never buy anything that was air freighted, giving preference to local suppliers.
The store itself is also incredibly cute and their marketing and logos were very well designed. We already wish there was one just like this in our town. Definitely check out the beautiful pictures!