+ Are you like a small specialty shop?
We’re a grocery store in scope and corner store in scale. We carry everything from meat to wine to produce in a small, efficient space. “Farmer’s market offerings with grocery store hours.”
+ Are you like a supermarket?
No. We’re not competing with supermarkets. Our business model exists in opposition to what’s normal in the grocery business because what’s normal isn’t healthy for our customers or the planet. We care about the future health of our community and local food economy, and can’t provide that by mimicking popular supermarket behavior (read more here).
+ Why did you shift away from package free?
We’d ambitiously pursued a broad ethos for almost 2 years, and decided to hone in on what’s most important to our customers and, therefore, our success. Our three guiding principles are zero waste, local food and community. By narrowing our mission, we’ve been able to do all three better and make sure we’re around for the duration.
+ Did in.gredients give up on its ambitious environmental and social ethos?
No! If we had kept doing things the same way, that would be giving up because we likely wouldn’t have stayed in business long enough to have an impact.
+ Is package free an impossible dream?
We don’t think so, no. But maybe this isn’t the time and place to pursue it so vigorously. We foresee the food and grocery industry moving in the direction of package free eventually, and we hope to continue to be pioneers and vocal advocates. For now, we’re choosing to more heavily focus on zero waste, local food, and community.
+What challenges did/do you face with package free goods?
Let’s face it, branding and marketing works. How a product is packaged definitely helps sell the product, particularly if it is something new or unfamiliar to the customer. Plus, some products that are very popular with customers aren’t available or feasible package free (chips, for example). Another issue is visualizing quantities. When a customer sees tea priced at $45.00/lb the initial thought is, “Wow! That’s expensive”, but a pound of tea makes approximately 226 servings of tea, so it comes out to only $0.20/cup for high quality tea.
+What sets in.gredients apart from other Eastside hangouts?
Aside from our plethora of quality local grocery offerings, we are a great place to bring the family (enjoy our playground or show your kiddos around our garden). We’ve got local beers/wines, cold brew coffee, kombucha, and sodas on tap, plus a delicious menu of local food offerings. With frequent events, workshops, classes, live music, and fundraisers, we make it easy to connect with your community. Join our mailing list to stay abreast of all that’s happening here!
+ Are you for or against GMO?
Against. There should be no surprise here. We’re committed to selling products that are non-GMO and are one of the few food retail shops that can truly say we are totally GMO-free. We fully support GMO labeling and intentionally avoid carrying products from companies (and/or parent companies) that have opposed GMO labeling.
+ Do I have to bring my own containers to shop at your store?
No. While we encourage customers to bring their own containers, we do have a mix of options from free paper and ziplock bags to a variety of mason jars and other durable containers for purchase.
We promote the reuse of containers to reduce waste – that’s why we encourage our customers to bring their own containers. A little planning goes a long way to promoting sustainability.
+ Your grocery shopping model’s completely new. Will you walk me through how it works?
Definitely. Come on by for a tour!
+ Is in.gredients expensive?
That’s a loaded question that depends on many variables and assumptions. Read our Open Letter and blog post about the “Real Cost of Food” for a more in depth look at the challenges of making locally and sustainably produced foods competitive with conventionally grown and processed foods.
+Do you work with only local, sustainable farms?
Yes, primarily. We aim to source at least 90% of our fruits and vegetables from local farms committed to sustainable farming practices. Sometimes we have nearly 100% Central Texas produce from a plethora of our favorite organic and sustainable farms, while at other times we have to supplement our Texas offerings with organic produce from out of state. Seasonal eating has been lost on most American consumers; we’re trying to help change that.
+ Do you offer deli/pre-made food?
Yes, prepared foods are available. We carry a plethora of local favorites like East Side Pie by the slice, mmmpanadas, and Mediterranean Chef dolma and falafel. Plus, we make a variety of delicious panini and salads in.house.
+ How do you prevent cross-contamination from not-so-well-washed reuseable containers?
We follow best practices and guidelines for distributing bulk foods. We do everything we can and take extra steps to help minimize the risk of contamination in our store. However, while our efforts will ensure a clean, healthy environment inside the store, we can’t guarantee flawless protection – no bulk store can.
+ How do I keep track of what my containers weigh?
The first time you bring a container into the store, weigh it while it’s empty at our Tare Station by the front door and affix the durable tare sticker to your container. From that point forward, we’ll always be able to calculate [empty weight – filled weight] to determine item cost.
+ What forms of payment can I use at in.gredients?
We accept cash, credit, and debit as forms of payment. We also offer gift cards for purchase in.store.
+Do you accept SNAP EBT food stamps?
Yes, we sure do.
+ Are you guys the silver bullet needed to fix the grocery industry?
Well, no. While we’re prioritizing local food, oil will still be consumed during the delivery of those goods because we live in a world that still runs on oil. While we’re going to hand-pick local farmers and vendors to supply our wide selection of food, we can’t guarantee we’ll carry that-one-ingredient-you-need-for-mom’s-recipe. The truth is, we’re out to fix a lot of things: waste, health, the local food economy…but our store alone isn’t the fix-all.
At best, we hope to show people that shopping sustainably is possible and practical. We want to educate our community on eating healthily, improve our local food economy, and show the industry that zero-waste isn’t as out of reach as most think. If we help lessen our dependence on oil and rock the packaging industry’s boat a bit, great – but that’s icing on the cake.
in.gredients won’t change the world – you will. The more people we have supporting us, the more other people will notice the changes that we can all make to live more sustainably.
+ How do you say your name/how’s it spelled?
Conversationally, our name’s pronounced “ingredients,” plain and simple. When written, however, our name’s ALWAYS spelled in.gredients, all lower-case, with a dot between “in” and “gredients.”