Does the package of an item you buy every day at the grocery store add value to your purchases?
According to Milena Glimbovski and Sara Wolf, the founders of Original Unpackaged (Original Unverpackt), it doesn’t. In fact, they believe that packages can be eliminated and the whole shopping experience can be changed for consumers.
The Berlin based startup revolutionizes the modern-day grocery shops by offering more than 600 different products without any packages. This means the shoppers will have to bring their own reusable containers for everything from fresh fruits to spices to shampoo. The goal is to reduce the waste packages create and enhance sustainability at the retail level.
Although the environmental benefits are obvious, sustainable shopping promises more than that. It gives everyone the ability to buy as much as they want without being restricted by package portions. There is also no price point restriction since the consumers will be paying only for the amount they purchase.
On the reverse side, there could be serious disadvantages like not knowing what exactly is in the products you are purchasing and not having differentiated goods in the market. The founders could overcome these disadvantages easily by including product descriptions and offering a variety of goods differentiated by things other than packaging. However, the biggest risk is that consumer packaged goods are very brand oriented and eliminating packages might hurt brand equities. Many consumers have subconscious or conscious attachments to brands and this loyalty is built through memories that we associate with brands. Packaging is a part of this whole experience and sustainable shopping might not be ideal for everyone.
Original Unpackaged is a retail reform that takes one of the biggest steps toward sustainable shopping. Time and consumer decisions will show if packaging is really a waste and if the Berlin startup will change the shopping game.
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