Just a few months ago, east Austin became home to something new and exciting: a zero-waste, package-free grocery store. in.gredients encourages customers to bring their own containers for purchases and offers bulk foods, local produce, dairy, meats, beer, and locally-made prepared foods. The small shop also has just a few aisles of bulk dry goods, including nuts, beans, cereals and grains, as well as cooking oils, cleaning products, and nut butters. The cold cases hold meats from local ranchers, milk from nearby Mill-King, Vital Farms eggs, fresh, seasonal produce from various local farms, and even locally made frozen baby food from Austin’s The Baby Kitchen. Near the register, a display case is filled with prepared foods from nearby Eastside Pies, local cheeses, and desserts from Cake & Spoon. A rotating selection of Austin-brewed beers are available on tap, and breads from Easy Tiger are beautifully displayed.
While the shop has reusable, biodegradable containers and jars available for those who haven’t brought their own, customers are encouraged to bring in a container, tare its weight on the shop’s scales, and reuse it at the shop over and over. The proprietors also work with local vendors who are willing to eliminate packaging on the wholesale side, and provide products with whole, pure ingredients. By doing this in.gredients is paving the way for other vendors and producers to rethink their packaging and business practices, one container at a time.