Food made to measure


In the German capital a trend that is actually really simple asserts itself – you just buy the amount you need. An idea, older generations still know from markets and small corner shops.

original unverpackt - Supermarkt
(c) Milena Glimbovski

It is always the same old story: You buy groceries for the whole week to fill up the fridge and so is your bin right after it. This is because most of the products you can nowadays buy in supermarkets are wasteful packaged even though this wouldn’t actually be necessary. As seen in another article, an average consumer produces more than 500kg of waste per year with rising tendency. The most waste comes from unnecessary packaging that are hard to recycle. That is now set to change. No more plastic bags, no more disposable tetrapacks, no more shrink-wrapped products – in Berlin, consumer will be shopping their food without packaging. But how does that work?

The whistle for the start of change

Original unverpackt” what means as much as “genuinely unpackaged” in German is the new, so called “precycling”-concept that was set up in Berlin a little while ago (“precycling” means not to produce waste when shopping instead of “recycle” the waste afterwards).

The store opened its doors in September this year – the product range contains the common products that can be purchased in any other shop, simply without disposable packaging. Milena Glimbovski and Sara Wolf did and still do a lot to establish the store they financed with crowdfunding.

Tetra Pak (c) Flickr
Tetra Pak (c) Flickr

After the successful opening of the supermarket you can now go there with your own containers and buy exactly the amount of whatever you need. More than 600 goods are available, from sugar and cheese to shampoo and juice. If you forget your container, you are able to borrow one from the shop or buy a paper bag. In this way, not only resources like water or oil you need for the packaging can be saved, but also the mass-consumption of food and unnecessary waste, caused by expiration dates can be avoided.

The Austrian equivalent

Vienna, the Austrian capital that is sometimes referred to as Berlin’s smaller brother, already has a similar store since January 2014. In “Lunzer’s Maßgreißlerei” you are able to buy a lot of goods, from groceries to cleaning products, the concept is basically the same as described above. You either bring your own packaging or buy glass containers or paper bags at the store and buy only the necessary amounts. Furthermore, small notes on the walls give you further information about the product itself and the preferred way to store it. Furthermore you can simply hand in your personal shopping list and containers in the morning and pick up the requested products in the afternoon. Here, this concept seems to work – and maybe for once, Vienna discovered a trend earlier than the usually by far more up-to-date Berlin.

We from smartcitiesconsulting are happy about ideas like that and want to encourage you as a company to start a discussion in order to support this way of shopping in other cities as well. Feel free to contact us or leave a comment.

Fotocredits: Flickr

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