in.gredients is a one-of-a-kind neighborhood grocery and beer garden located in Austin, TX. Over the last five years of doing business, we've established ourselves as a cornerstone of the community, leading by example in zero waste, local sourcing and civic engagement.
Our unique selling point that we are working on refining is our package-free office snacks program, in.gredients Pantry. We already have a pilot program with our sister company (a software consulting firm), and we have been interested for a long time in expanding this to other tech firms and the like, which are omnipresent in Austin.
The three pillars of the ethos that define who we are and what we do are zero waste, local food and community engagement. As a triple bottom line business, we approach each of these areas with a holistic understanding of our impact on others (people), the environment (planet) and our own financial sustainability (profit).
We've honed in on a business model that results in sending a mere 5-8 pounds of trash to the landfill in an average month. Compared to the average American's statistical 5-6 pounds of trash sent to the landfill per day, we're very proud of what we've accomplished. As daunting as it may sound, our small footprint ultimately comes down to a daily practice of sorting and allocating our "unusables" to their next highest use. We encourage our vendors to deliver their products in reusable containers and return the empties in exchange, offer compostable or recyclable containers for in-house prepared foods, incorporate our spent coffee grounds into our garden soil, donate mushy or bruised produce to a local petting zoo and compost the moldy stuff.
We have many bulk offerings, from snacks and candy to spices & grains. We incentivize and encourage packaging reuse with our unique tare station and "Bring Your Own Container" nonprofit donation programming. The cornerstone of our BYOC incentive program is our non-profit community partnership. Every six months, we ask our customers to help us choose a different Austin non-profit to support for a period of six months, during which time we donate 5 cents every time a customer reuses a container. Additionally, we donate a portion of every first Friday's sales, and help promote their mission and enhance their network at our First Friday Block Parties.
We have diverted upwards of 8 tons of material from the waste stream since we opened, with more than 34,000 containers reused by our customers. We've sent zero pounds of food waste to the landfill since day one.
We're committed to doing everything we can to build a more robust and resilient local food system. We support dozens of local farmers and ranchers who eschew the use of harmful petro-chemicals in their growing practices and embrace the methods of organic and sustainable agriculture. We prioritize and support small-scale makers, and we have helped many get their start and go on to very successful operations.
Our diligence allows us to put upwards of 70% of our customers' dollars into the local economy, compared to a mere 13% at box stores and 47% at an average locally owned businesses.
In addition to selling groceries, we are a local beer garden. We even have a garden next to our seating area where Farmer Sue grows produce that we sell in the store! You can literally drink a local brew, observe what produce is in season in the garden, then go home and eat dinner made from produce from that same garden.
When you visit in.gredients, you are likely to stumble upon a gardening workshop, cooking class, DIY product demo, exercise in civic engagement or perhaps a square dance. Some say we have the best porch in town.
Doing business in a community-centered and earth-forward manner means that making a profit has always been a challenge. With a big boost, we could make the changes necessary to ultimately become more profitable, expand our reach and make a bigger impact.