NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Ever wonder what a grocery store would look like if you eliminated all the packaging? Some entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas, certainly did, and have decided to open up the first package-free grocery store in the country.
In.gredients, a concept developed by the Brothers Lane LLC, lets customers shop for groceries by filling their own reusable containers with local, organic products. Such products will include dry bulk goods, dairy items, household cleaners and even wine and beer. Containers will be weighed upon entry, then once again at checkout to determine the price of the products.
The concept is largely geared toward eco-conscious consumers who want to minimize waste, support local farms and promote a healthier lifestyle and better food choices.
“What grocery stores do today isn’t facilitating zero-waste best practices,” In.gredients co-founder Christian Lane tells MainStreet. “We want to come up with different ways of facilitating pre-cycling as a lifestyle and make local quality organic products available to consumers.”
Lane said the concept has certain constraints and admits that patrons won’t be able to find certain products in the store’s aisles, notably junk foods. He also said that while some prices may be higher, depending on the product, In.gredients will also offer an opportunity for consumers to save as they will only have to buy exactly what they need. For instance, single patrons may only want to buy a few eggs rather than a whole dozen.
However, “for the most part, [our prices] will be competitive with other grocers,” he says.
Lane says the concept requires an “educational component” and as such, the store will host cooking classes, on-site gardening activities and a variety of community-oriented events geared toward promoting healthy living. He also says the store will have compostable bags for consumers without their own containers.
Lane declined to comment on the exact day the Austin location will open, only saying that it would be in business “very soon.” He did say that should the store prove to be successful, the company would open more locations, preferably in towns that could benefit from learning about healthier ways of eating.