Posts Tagged ‘Package-free’
We’re thrilled to be amongst Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2012 100 Brilliant Companies…we’re blushing bright red!
by Colleen Doyle
Homemade oat milk’s a wonderful solution to a packaging problem. Store-bought oat milk (and many other boxed liquids) come in a drink cartons comprised of 75% paper, 20% plastic, and 5% aluminium foil. There’s usually a plastic pour spout on the top of the carton. Making your own cuts down on packaging waste – and is also far more economical.
A quart of organic oat milk from the store will usually cost around 3 to 4 dollars. The oat groats I bought in bulk only cost $1.69/lb. Oat milk’s smooth and creamy. Many agree that of all the milk substitutes, oat
milk in most similar to dairy in texture. Cooked oat milk tastes nutty; raw oat milk has a slightly grassier flavor. Both are easy to make!
0.25 cup raw organic oat groats
4 cups water
0.25 tsp of sea salt
Directions: Cooked oat milk
1. Soak the oat groats in a bowl of water for about 8 hours. Rinse the oats and discard the soaking water.
2. Place the oats, salt, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let the oats cool completely.
3. Blend the cooked oats with the 3 cups of water until very smooth (I used my immersion blender and added the water directly to the saucepan—which meant less dishes to wash afterwards!).
4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container. You can reserved the solids to use in a baking recipe (I simply warmed mine up with a little water and ate them as a porridge the next morning).
You can also make raw oat milk:
1. Leave the soaked and rinsed oats in a colander in a cool spot for 12-24 hours to initiate the sprouting process. Then blend the oats with the 0.25 tsp of salt and 4 cups of water until very smooth. Let the blended oats sit for 1 hour before straining.
2. The oat milk will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Use it as a cooking base, pour it over cereal, or drink it straight. I sweeten mine with a little honey and freshly ground cinnamon!
(image: Colleen Doyle, No Trash Project)
We’re excited to announce our partnership with Urban Patchwork! Here’s an excerpt from the press release:
“AUSTIN (19 MAR 2012) – in.gredients, the nation’s first package-free and zero waste microgrocer, has teamed up with Urban Patchwork, Austin’s first neighborhood-scale farm non-profit, to maximize community involvement and contribute to Cherrywood’s community farm plots.
in.gredients’ store garden will be a part of Urban Patchwork’s Cherrywood community-supported agriculture (CSA) network and become a pick up point for CSA members. Produce grown at in.gredients will be distributed to members, and surplus produce or seedlings will be sold at in.gredients in a farmstand setting.”
Read the full press release here!
Don’t worry – we didn’t just announce a package-free, zero-waste grocery store and run. We are working hard on preparing in.gredients for opening day, thanks to overwhelming support from our friends in Austin and extended community elsewhere! So, enough talk. Here’s the skinny.
Renovations = in progress.
Vendors = in progress.
Equipment = in progress.
Pre-opening event = keep your eyes open in the next few weeks for more news.
It’s sometimes hard for us to be patient during the construction process. We’re making progress every day, but we’re having to remind ourselves that it takes 5,280 feet to make a mile, not one – and every foot counts.
Many of you have asked for an exact opening date. We’re not ready to give one yet – we still have a few variables to sort out. We set “fall 2011″ as a target date close to a year ago, and we’re still targeting opening by the end of fall. We’ll make the big announcement soon!
In the meantime, you’ll begin to learn about our local vendors, about how to shop at our store, and have opportunities to come help prepare our space for opening day. It’s been great to meet some of you already – we hope to meet more of you face-to-face in the coming weeks.
We want to thank everyone again for your support, and again acknowledge our commitment to bringing good food and sustainable shopping to our community. We’re excited, and racing to the finish.
See our updated FAQ page for more info.
When I’ve told folks about our campaign, I’ve often received the reactions “wow – that’s a great new idea!” and “that’s very innovative – I’ve never heard of that before.” And it’s true – what we’re hoping to do is very “new” to the Western world.
But the concept of package-free, zero-waste groceries is by no means new. It’s a very old idea. In the past, when people weren’t raising/growing their own food, they bought food in public markets – and, believe it or not, brought their own containers. While glass jars weren’t the norm, burlap sacks, baskets, and other reusable totes were used to carry food home. This is still happening today, outside Western (or Western-influenced) societies. Indeed, in parts of Mexico, it’s not uncommon for folks to bring towels to a tortilleria to wrap tortillas in.
We need to remind ourselves that waste is a human invention. How we define waste has changed throughout the centuries – and presently, that definition stretches more broadly than ever before. So while in.gredients is a cool, new idea for us, it’s actually a return to an older way of doing things – a return to sustainability.
We’re two days into our campaign, and we’re excited to thank Lauren Welker, Courtney Knudsen, and Alicia Jones for being our first contributors! You guys are awesome – can’t wait to send you a container to use in our store!
We’ve been thrilled to read some web buzz about our store so far – including a mention from Bob Vosburgh in his response to GOOD’s Redesigning the Supermarket project and this ongoing thread on Yelp!, which has offered us some great feedback which we plan to respond to soon.
It’s exciting for us personally to see how many of you are onboard with the idea. We want our community to help determine our ethos. Package-free and zero-waste are new frontiers in the grocery industry, after all – and in.gredients will be one of the first businesses to actually hit the trail.
Keep spreading the news – with enough donations, we’ll be ready to launch this fall!
Highly-processed, chemically-treated foods are cheaper because you’re paying for them with your taxes. After World War II, the US government (and other European governments) needed to ensure that the severe food shortages experienced during the war didn’t happen again – and began to heavily subsidize agrochemical (generic for farm chemicals and preservatives) agriculture with tax dollars to promote mass food production. Common agrochemicals include such corn-based preservatives as dextrose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, and absorbic acid. The subsidies worked. Argochemicals weren’t designed to be nutritious or tasty, but rather to boost production as cheaply as possible. So while chemically-fueled food products are cheaper, they also lack in quality.
Organic farmers don’t receive any subsidies from the government, so they have to charge more for their product to stay profitable. Since their foods are of better quality than non-organic products, the higher cost is justifiable to the consumer – though frustrating since we don’t typically think of food as something to spend extra money on. Still, eating healthily is important, and eating organic and natural foods is legitimately better for you than eating the alternative. And that’s more expensive. But in.gredients offers an alternative shopping method that lowers your barrier of entry into healthy grocery shopping: ultimate portion control.
Portion control isn’t just healthier. It’s more affordable. In typical supermarkets, you don’t have control over how much you buy outside of the deli and produce sections of the store. Most food is pre-packaged, so the amount and cost is determined for you. In this system you can’t always guarantee you’re buying exactly what you plan to use. If you need 1/4lb of granola, for example, you may have to resort to buying 1lb of it for a higher cost. If you need 3 cups of curry powder, you may have to buy 4 small containers of it to have enough. In these scenarios, you’re not only spending more for what you need – you’re generating more food and packaging waste. Were the 4 small containers really necessary? And what about all that extra granola?
Having control over how much you buy helps you spend less, reduce waste, and make your grocery shopping more efficient. That’s why our shopping model is so appealing. We want our customers to have affordable access to good food, so selling everything in bulk lets our shoppers choose exactly how much they spend while reducing their waste production.
Consumerism doesn’t fit at in.gredients. While we’re a for-profit business, we’re not selling our shelves to companies after exponential-volume sales. We’re out to prove that a for-profit grocery store can make organic more affordable, make local food more accessible, and make waste reduction more practical – and make your dollars good dollars by giving a portion of our revenue to local community programs.
Welcome back to Austin, students and travelers. Stop in and say hi!
Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle
|No matter the case, real, unprocessed food is better for you than food that’s been chemically modified. At our store, you won’t need to be convinced of what you’re buying. You’ll be buying real ingredients. Learn more||in.gredients is a collaborative effort between business, community, and consumers with the goal of eliminating food-related waste while supporting local businesses and farmers. Learn more||There’s no waste in nature. Waste is a human invention. As good stewards of our environment, our top priority is to reduce the amount of waste we produce and reuse what we have. Learn More|
When we debut in 2011, in.gredients will be the first package-free, zero waste grocery store in the United States.
But that’s not what deserves the most attention. The real surprise: while packaging makes up nearly 40 percent of all landfill-bound municipal waste and a majority of all municipal recycling streams, our stores remain filled with packaged goods. The fact is, packaging isn’t always necessary – and it’s almost always thrown away.
Since there’s no fundamental shift on the horizon for food packaging, we’re taking matters into our own hands and rejecting unnecessary packaging altogether. in.gredients is an experiment that will serve as a testing ground for what package-free looks like practically and become a model for more sustainable food retail.
At in.gredients we promote a “reduce, reuse, then recycle” approach – which is to say “reduce waste, reuse what you have to use, and recycle what you can’t reuse any longer.” Landfilling wastes reusable resources. Recycling consumes staggering amounts of energy. Reducing waste, therefore, should be prioritized as the first approach to making our way of life more sustainable.
Our zero waste operations mean we send nothing to the landfill by reusing, recycling, or composting 100 percent of our on-site waste. While it’s sometimes hard to live sustainably in our society, we hope to facilitate sustainable living by enabling our customers to use resuable containers and bags from home for grocery shopping if they choose.
We’re excited to bring package-free to the US. Until we open, follow us to stay tuned to updates – and give us feedback about what you want our store to offer, packaging not included.
A recent post by the Sustainable Cities Collective cited a study that found that people with practical access to supermarkets with healthy food options have the lowest rates of obesity, while those who don’t have the highest rates of such diet-related diseases.
Why? The problem is first linked to transportation. Those who can’t afford cars must rely entirely on public transportation (or on their feet) to get to the grocery store. Since typical post-World War II US city planning segmented land zoning, commercial property is all too often too far away from residential property to be convenient – meaning many of those without cars must endure a long, complicated journey to food.
It’s not only the car that causes problems here. It’s simple business principles. For a grocery store to survive, it’s got to pick a location that’s not only highly-trafficked, but has enough residents and money around it to generate a consistent profit. That’s not usually the inner city. The urban cores of most large US cities are often plagued by poverty, and are often minority-majority – the former the trickle-down result (in a purely academic sense) of white supremacism, the latter the result of white flight. Regions with higher poverty generally have higher crime rates, higher crime rates cause lower land values, lower land values send money elsewhere, and that renders the area unattractive to businesses and residents alike. That’s exactly why chain supermarkets – which ironically offer the lowest food prices around – are usually reluctant to open in decaying urban cores.
Sustainable Cities Collective cites Detroit as a prime example of this. Detroit, with nearly a million residents, doesn’t have a single chain supermarket – leaving independent grocers to serve a population that’s trying to recover from massive economic collapse. Unfortunately, the placement of these grocers and Detroit’s mass transit network don’t offer every Detroit resident easy access to food. Since independent grocers serving low-income communities are more strapped for cash, they can’t offer the same low prices as supermarket chains. And as the cited study indicates, it’s not just access to affordable food that’s the issue here. It’s access to affordable, healthy food.
To put things simply, inner city residents usually don’t have access to good food – and if they do, it’s usually too expensive to afford.
in.gredients is slated to turn these problems upside down. By offering organic, locally-sourced, package-free food, we’re able to sell healthy foods for lower prices. That’s because our customers aren’t paying for packaging costs (usually 10 percent of item cost) and shipping costs (at the average grocery store, most items are shipped cross-country or, in the case of out-of-season produce, cross-continent). Frankly, we’re excited to bring this new business model to the Austin community, since the grocery industry has yet to produce such a solution to healthy food access. It’s not just reducing packaging and food waste that’s important to us. It’s helping our community by providing good food at accessible prices, and stimulating the local economy by refusing to buy food from out of town.
We hope you’ll share our excitement, and take part in our grocery revolution in 2011!