David Roberge

By: David Roberge on September 15th, 2014

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Why We Aren't Afraid Of Package-Free Grocery Stores

The Business of Packaging


So, I came across an article a few weeks ago about package-free grocery stores across the pond. I instantly thought of my company and its security in the future. The article was great and detailed the options they have available and how it's the way of the future. But is it? 

Europe is FAR ahead of America in Sustainability

Europe is very, very populated. There is really no room, so recycling is HUGE!  Our CEO Matt flew to Brussels a few years back with our VP Rick and they visited a recycling facility. It's amazing how much they put into their efforts to be green there. hey had about 45 different stations to separate the recyclables. Its apparently very sophisticated! They actually have recycling days TWICE a week. I think in my city we have recycling maybetwice a month. (I am lucky to have communal recycling area where I live so I never catch them coming or have to remember to place my bins outside the night before.)

Not for everyone

If we were to dive into the subject, its not a threat to our growing company. Package-free stores really work for a niche market that is more driven than the average American in this part of their lives. But thinking of how we work as a whole in America, it doesn't seem like going package-free universally would be more than a passing fad or for certain people that are willing to make that extra effort. 

Food Transportation

 Where do your fruits and veggies, and any other food for that matter come from when you are shopping at the market? Next time you 're at the market, take a look. I just bought blueberries in Massachusetts from California at the market the other day, and muffins from Minnesota! Now think about those items traveling sans-packaging to the shelves you grab your items from. Just to clarify the package-free stores will have the items dispensed in gravity storage units that will dispense into your containers. The article doesn't mention how these bulk items will be transported and I can only imagine there will be a need for packaging here. There will always be a need, and almost a comfort in knowing your food is packaged and safe from the outside world it was developed in and all of the contaminants it may encounter on its journey to the stores. 

How do you carry your product to and from?

Do you want to make sure you have your stack of Tupperware, cleaned out each time you head out to the grocery store and fill those bad boys up, then pay by weight for each item you purchase? They will have the option to purchase containers at the store, however, they will cost something. This is not to say we as Americans are completely lazy, but after working a long day I know I'm not alone in saying I do not want to go home, grab my containers and then go to the store to measure my purchases and make sure I have enough to bring along for everything I need! 

Sustainability is our Aim

Packaging is not going anywhere. Because we know this, we want our materials sustainable and our equipment creating less waste and emissions. We want to help your business do the same thing. We are heading in the right direction and will continue to do so to make sure our planet sticks around for the long haul! 

Overall the article I read was great, and the stores are a great concept, but I am not convinced that this will be the norm in the near future. We as a packaging company are certainly not scared of package-free stores as much as we are interested in them!

What are your thoughts? 

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About David Roberge

I am grateful for my 9 years as part of the outstanding Industrial Packaging team. I was able to hang out with some of the most knowledgeable folks in the packaging industry. I feel even luckier that I was able to share that knowledge with you. I love learning, hiking, and growing people and teams both personally and professionally, and helping companies grow better.