When I was growing up in Korea, we used to buy rice and grains from a rice farmer’s ‘shop’ in the neighborhood. He would also have an attached mill where we can buy flour too. We would bring our sacks and fill them up or the farmer would lend us his sack, as long as we returned it. There was an open market too where we would only buy what we need and in sacks we brought. This was in the 70′s.
I think those type of food shopping is a thing of the past in Korea, unless you go to a rural farmlands, deep in the country. Now, foods are sold just like in the U.S., in packages from supermarkets.
So, when I heard about In.gredients, a first packaging-free grocery store that will open in Austin, TX this fall, the story reminded me of my childhood in Korea. I’m surprised it took this long for a concept like this to catch on here but hey, better late than never, right? I mean we already have stores with bulk bins so why not a whole entire store with bulk bins, like the way stores used to be!
I remember visiting my friends upstate NY years ago and going ga-ga over their spice bulk bins at Wegman’s. I bought ten bay leaves. Ten! I didn’t use bay leaves that much then, and I just needed a few for a soup I was making. I thought the idea of buying only what you need was brilliant!
Yes, bulk bins might attract those who would just stick their fingers in bins to taste, cross contaminate gluten-free with regular flours, and maybe even steal foods from bins. But in general, I think people are civilized and we will prevail in reducing waste by frequenting stores like this to buy food.
You can get all the scary data from their website but the amount of garbage created by food related packaging is a sin!
39 million tons of paper/paperboard, 13.7 million tons of plastics, and 10.9 million tons of glass per year, just on food packaging???
Really crazy stuff. No wonder food prices are going up and up. It’s spent on designing, raw material for packaging, and labor to put food inside….all to throw away at the destination!
I can’t wait to see if this concept will take off in other parts of the country. It’ll be like going to my old childhood open market for shopping.
Ah~ the good times.
P.S. Thanks Amanda for tagging me this story when it first came out. You are a gem!