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Your choice, how much you want, fresh, no excess packaging. We are the un-packaged store. Befria Foods Inc.

Befria Foods offers over 6000 items without packaging. Bring your own container or use our compostable bags.

Photo of Michael Greene
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Prototype design of a Befria store and fly through.  Since the original design we have sourced and added fluid filling stations and are working on designs to have in-store fresh potato chips and snacks in addition to the in-store bakery. The store is about the experience; colors, the smell of fresh product, an education center, but no packaging.

When we look in the mirror, we see you looking back! 

We want the same things you do and we have put together our list of things that we feel are core values to us.

Three core sections: The Environment, Our Products, Our Staff are important to us.


The Environment

Our prime ambition is the focus on the Three Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Looking around at the way our planet is being treated is upsetting.  Some say think of future generations, our thoughts are of today, of how we are living in an ever enlarging garbage dump. The future is very important, but right now, this is where we have the opportunity to fix things.

Excessive Packaging

             Convenient ?

                                                                       Easier to display ?


Our Environmental Promise

  1.  We will not sell food in packages
  2. You will be allowed to bring in your own containers to fill and reuse. 
  3. We will have a special space for you to rinse and weigh your containers
  4. The containers we supply will be recyclable

Our Products

Berfia brings products from all around the world.  What we know is that the needs of our customers should not be restricted by distances or borders.

Spices, health and beauty, confections and fresh foods arrive daily in our stores.  To do that we tried to meet both the economical factors of food purchasing, meaning, we know that there is a group of us that are price aware.  We also try to meet the ethical issues that we are faced using a global supply.

Our product promises are made to you at the product in the store.  The signage will indicate to you the information you need to make the decision that best suits you and your personal choices.

Supporting your choices are important to us at Befria.

Our Product Promise

  1. We will clearly mark where the product originated from, not just where it shipped from, but what country grew or made the product.
  2. We will clearly mark products from 'ethical' sources
  3. The product health information will be displayed and also available to you in the Befria app.
  4. We will stand behind our products and offer a 100% guarantee on your purchases.
  5. We will source where possible from local growers and manufacturers

Our Team Members

The people that work the stores, in the office, the warehouses and the trucks,  these people are the most important part of the Befria business.  Without the efforts of each and every member of the Befria team, we cannot meet your needs or the goals of Befria.

Our Team Promise

  1.  Respect.  We will always respect the individual.  Regardless of where a person is from, their beliefs or orientations, once they are members of the Befria team, they will always have the respects of everyone on our team.
  2. Wages.  Befria will meet and exceed minimum wages of the jurisdiction by 20%.  The one thing that we firmly believe in, our team members need a living wage. 
  3. Pride.  Befria will help each team member to build pride in themselves through training and incentive rewards.
  4. Security.  Whether the team members works in a franchise store or a corporate store they will be protected and have the rights to highlight and have mediated issues that impact them and the performance in their position.

Befria believes we can be responsible and strive to make the world a better place.

Old World Experience

Before we came to the United States, we shopped the marketplaces.  The village squares, the farmers markets, the market lanes and small shops brought what we observed to our new stores here in America.  The flavors, the smells, but most important, the experience.  

Befria understands food does not come in a box or a bag.  Your meal is a combination of ingredients, skill and yes, love.  It is very easy to grab a package of this or order a pre-set meal in a box online, but the experience starts with the selection.  The fresh fruit and vegetables, rolling them in your hands, finding just the correct ripeness for your discerning taste.

We bring the Old World Market into the 21st century and do it with community in mind.

Crossroads of Old and New

Befria is a New World company.  We are aware of the environmental issues and economic issues. We are also aware that you want to personally pick only best for you and your family.  Grabbing a plastic box of tomatoes or a bag of oranges is convenient but not hand picked with your personal level of inspection and choice.  These are your standards you want met.  Who better to do it than you.

Take that to all the food you buy.  The just right amount of flour, the 'only need a handful' of walnuts, a pinch of this, a dash of that to fill the needs of your special recipe.  In the Old World, you went to the market and this is exactly what happened, you got what you wanted and needed.

Our Technology

Unpackaged foods offers the worst possible problem for inventory control.  No bar codes.  Staff need to memorize thousands of bin numbers.  Until now! 

Befria cash system is a fully integrated POS tool that allows us to scan the product at the till point using our custom tags for the products using non-UPC coding technology. For our customer they will be able to use the same code to pull up recipes and cooking instructions.  It will link the customer to the store and allow for reordering.  Befria is in the process of achieving patent approval and is working with  Bereskin & Parr for all intellectual property issues.

What is in a Name?

Befria is Swedish for liberation.  We strive to live up to our name, we want to free your experience with food.  The freedom to choose from thousands of items and the amount you want.  The product is fresh, the store is clean. We have technology to support you in the store and will follow you home. Our goal is to free you every step of your food journey.

Our journey starts by taking away the restraints of packaging and opening up all the freedoms for you to experience food. Befria is the "last mile solution" between the farmer, manufacturer and the consumer.

Use Case Studies

Use Case 1

Rajata and Mark have different needs but can share a common use. Rajata has a product need that is driven from an economic and frequency basis. Mark has a need that is more convenience and can be a multiple use situation. Compounding the issue is one is looking for a bath and body solution while one is looking for a consumable option.

Befria has a solution that will allow Rajata to use the packaging over and over, making it the multi-trip solution that we believe will help to reduce the waste stream load while keeping the packaging costs down.  When the package does reach end of life, it has value in the recycling stream and will be brought back to life as another item in our daily lives.  In the use case with Mark, the same packaging will meet the needed government use standards for consumptions.  If Mark makes the choice to use the packaging once, it is added to the recycle stream, not the waste stream.  Mark can retain the packaging and wash it out for refill and multi-trip use. 

The value of the recycled material speaks to the solution for Saatwika.  The packaging material is reclaimable and sought after for recycling.

The source in-store comes in a board box with a re-usable plastic bag that will be returned for refill.  We are looking in alternative packaging for the store level, but when we consider the complete contribution factors from manufacturing to delivery of the packaging, the returnable liner presents us with the smallest contributing footprint in an end-to-end solution.

Use Case 2

The identified people, Michaela, Trevor and Benjamin are looking for instant consumable solutions.  At Befria, all packaging that we offer in store will be fully recyclable, where possible, compostable or user supplied for multi-trip functions.

The plastic seal is eliminated in the self-fill environment.  Government regulations were put in place to ensure freshness and reduce contamination.  The self-fill does not need to comply with those regulations and eliminates the additional seals while providing the instant consumable option.  Befria provides options for the healthy foods like humus and the fun foods like chocolate.  Beverages can be filled into user supplied containers or the store sourced bottles with integrated pour/drinking spouts in the lid.

To Answer the Questions

"Is there anything else you would like to highlight that differentiates Befria from other packaging-free stores? "

The essence of retail is on the surface; the experience. 

  • The design of the store, the ease of shopping, 
  • The function of the fixtures. 
  • The mood of the store, quiet or exciting. 

Befria prides itself on the fixturing design that are consumer friendly, easy to use. Our fold-flat design allows us to ship units with less environmental impact. Our excitement comes in the form of instore production of breads and fun foods, our support comes in the education/sampling area. Product information instore denotes origins, ethical standards, eco standards and cooking instructions. This information is also built into the product code and will follow home with the customer.

"How does Befria standout in the dispensing of liquids?"

Our product offerings in fluids cover cooking oils, beverages, hair care and body care products. The dispensers have been designed for multiple trip refill bladders with easy use spigots for filling the containers. The bladders when empty are returned for cleaning and refilling. We have refrigerated units for products such as dairy or other beverages that require chilling. For products like honey or syrups we are looking to develop a system that has a push effect to be able to employ the same bladder design we have for the fluids.

Our dispenser housing has a pusher system that ensures the product in the bladder is always pushed forward and that the contents are effectively 'rung out' of the bladder before the unit is returned for cleaning and refilling.

"What would persuade a shopper to purchase goods at Befria over competitors?"

I would love to say because we are the best, but this is the art of the marketing. A razors edge, but the reality is how do you convert a consumer to a customer depends on providing for their needs in a timely manner and at their financial comfort level. Currently the marketplace is driven by consumer package goods, bag inside a box, with plastic overwrap. Give the consumer a broad choice with ease of function in a clean environment and Befria is on the way to creating that customer. Deliver that time after time, you will keep them. Persuading them to cross the threshold, that is the marketing campaign.

"How would you incorporate product branding into Befria?"

Befria has three opportunities to reflect CPG branding in the store

  • at the product 
  • in the carry home store supplied packaging 
  • in the product code 

What is coming to light in the past few years though is the power of the store brand. While Coke will always be a universally recognized brand, brands of gluten free flour have less brand impact. Delivering quality product whether under the Befria brand or an established consumer goods company can be supported from the shelf to the home.

Idea Title

Unpackage for Life

Company / Organization Name


Where are you / your team located?

San Francisco and Toronto

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

It starts with a grandmother who squeezed the orange juice every morning for her family 90 years ago and ended with a screw cap on a carton of orange juice. Befria takes those items away. Fluids will be refilled at filling stations, whether it is Kombucha or shampoo, the bottle will be a many trip container. The cellophane windows on boxes, gone, the clam shells on tomatoes, gone. Stop them at the factory and they will not make it to the waste streams or the gutters.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Cases 1&2. The need for small amounts of any product, dry or fluid is driven by two aspects - package size that is not suitable for various reasons and packaging type. Case 1, Rajata & Mark are given solutions at Befria that will meet their economic and convenience factors. Case 2, Michaela & Trevor/Benjamin also have options of unpackaged instant consumables without the additional seals and packaging. Minimal or personal reusable packages can be maximized with product selection/availability

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Starting location is California, USA. Roll out from there will be on a regional needs and acceptance study.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The California marketplace was selected for launch based on the population concentration and the ability to build and maintain supply lines. Moving into other areas will require us to ensure an adequate supply chain without adding to the carbon foot print of the company. Our current supply partners will be able to provide service to the majority of the North American markets and some European designated areas.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

We work solving problems relative to our experiences in life. After working with the Accelerator program our goal would be to bring more products direct to consumers that would eliminate packaging from the waste stream. Our job is to solve the problems that we are creating and the ultimate test is, did we do it? Did we solve the problem without creating any knock on effect? Did we make life better and easier?

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Individual idea/Start-up. The birth came at the curbside as the 6th recycling box was put out for the week. Then I watched the garbage truck pick up half of what I had sorted into the boxes. Sharing this with others, similar concerns were shared. Bulk food had been around for generations, but not done on a large scale. Not with a commitment for change. We saw the opportunity to create change, to move forward by looking back and making the Old World markets better.

Tell us about your work experience

I started in retail at 14. 15 years in the grocery as line management, 10 years in drug retail industry doing chain wide store design, and merchandising. Moved to technology development for 10 years.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

C Corp

Please describe, in detail, your business model and how you intend to test and iterate this model.

Markets have existed for thousands of years. People have sought and traded for the new and wonderful. Befria is an evolutionary step in retail. The question was asked, How will you measure success? Business we will look at comp store sales, ROI and GMROI. The human capital measurement is the churn rate on staff loss over training costs. Staff retention speaks to our success to meet their needs. The ultimate measurement of success - did we make a positive difference? That is our goal.

Please explain how your innovation will work within, potentially improve, and provide benefit to the plastics system.

Retailers are the last link in the supply chain to consumers. We have influence over consumer buying habits and the manufacturers' packing design. Retailers are the change agents for packaging reform and elimination. Befria is striving to remove all single use packaging solutions and support only multiple trip solutions. Our wrap & pack will conform to either recyclable/compostable or multi-trip solutions. We are striving to eliminate packaging on over 80,000 items.

Please describe, in depth, how your solution will reduce the overall environmental footprint of packaging.

Our bags are paper. Fluids will fill to glass or customer supplied. The bladders in our fluid units will conform to food safety standards and be a food grade material. Materials will be structured for multiple fills with a proprietary identification system for content use. At end of life we will dispose of them through a registered recycle shredder that will shred and re-pellet the materials for use in other products.

Please outline how your design, material, and delivery choices will influence price, and how you intend to address the price increase that may result from this solution.

The elimination of packaging impacts the manufacturer and Befria. We anticipate a small increase in the wrap & pack cost when dealing with smaller packaging, specifically in the single use size. The offset comes from customer supplied containers. Manufacturers who supply institutional packaging, there is no additional cost, otherwise equipment investment will be needed with an offset from reduced packaging cost. Prices will be lower. The spend for goods will drop buying just what is needed

Please explain how your solution will impact user behavior, and what design considerations you've included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions with your Idea. 

Befria is an evolved solution, building on and bringing elements into the store from our collective past. The Old World market with the currency of today. The opportunity is changing the ingrained behaviour of consumers and converting them to customers. The reduction of packaging and plastic waste and ultimately food waste will be self-evident, but the support at store level from signage, the Teaching Corner and staff will help consumers transition to a less-is-more state of mind.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

Top Idea will launch us onto the stage. We will finish the last three weeks of software development for the POS systems and tie it to the cloud. We will open our first store and that leads to an externals second round of funding after POC.

Attachments (1)


Executive overview of the business. We have a full business plan and projections available for review.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Michelle

Hi Michael,

I like where you're going with the "Old World" feel with the integration of new technology. It is for a fact that consumers are looking for a specific amount of a product that they want to use but couldn't because the current packaging system gives them fewer options.

I actually have a similar idea, but to make the weighing process easier, I implemented an electronic card system. I thought up of a filling station that puts the price data inside the card after filling so there won't be long lines at the checkout. In a bring-your-own container store, I'm certain that customers will bring a large variety of unique containers, each with unique weight ratios. The checkout guy would obviously be overwhelmed because he has to guess how much each container weigh when they're empty vs. the filled product inside them. If you're interested, please check out my video:

Good luck with your proposal!

Photo of Michael Greene

Hi Michelle
The customer container issue is eliminated by having a tare station in the store. It means training the customers, but once the containers have been weighed on the first go around, hopefully the sticker we apply will live through a few washings before the need to be weighed again.
Looking at your offering as a retailer the test and sample factor is a challenge. The data collection aspect is wonderful. The collection of product and if it is used as a smart card, a card the customer would retain, then you could actually debt their account as product is added to the basket. No check out at all.

I can see possibilities in your card concept. I need to go the other way to keep all the product information attached to the purchase so the customer can get home and access cooking instructions or product information such as storage or caloric values.

Thanks for taking the time to look it over and best of luck with your work.

Photo of Troy Gardner

perhaps look at laser etching glass for the ids so there's no labelling to rub off, sure in the bay areas makerspace has something that might work. Might impact drop strength you'd have to test it.

Photo of Michael Greene

It would be an interesting option for returning customers that are using the multi-trip packaging or container. In a volume situation where you are dealing with many customers per week and multiple products, the time taken to do the etching would be unmanageable. Befria catalogue of merchandise is in total about 6,000 items and could run higher. We continue to source products which will make this number in flux all of the time.

The other issue with the glass aspect is making it scan. The glass etching will not reflect the scanner light correctly. When in the home and user points their smart phone at it the read will fail. For something to scan with a level of accuracy there are required size and background colors to maximize read efficiency.

It is a great idea and perhaps I need to think through another way of using that technology for repeat customers.

Photo of Vanessa Sore

Hi there,

Great idea!
There are similar concepts here in Australia, such companies like Source Foods Co which also provides healthy food choices and reusable containers and paper bags. Have you considered an international presence long term? If so, how would you compete?
Currently, I see a competitive advantage in your business model which will allow for scale - by having consumers weigh/process their own shopping rather than queuing up when it is busy. I imagine this will also keep your customers happy! However, may be something that other companies can imitate.

If you were to consider the card option - Would your business model be in a position to absorb this additional cost (even where potential for this to not be a repeat customer - how would you overcome this?), or would this more likely be an expense to each customer?


Photo of Michael Greene

Hi Vanessa
Welcome to OpenIdeo, I see you are new and that is great! I am familiar with Source and another player there in the unpackaged foods space. Would Befria work in Australia? It may, it depends on the consumer mind set. Where ever we go in the world there will be a group of people that will embrace unpackaged. Our goal is to expand that base and change the consumer behaviours. It takes time. The other issue at play will be the supply lines to Australia. For us to meet the consumer needs we want to be able to customize the product selection at store level and not just offer local, but a large variety of products from around the world. I will confess, healthy is a good thing, but I personally still like my sweet treats once in a while.
Thank you for seeing the competitive advantage, but it actually goes beyond that linking the product to the store, to the customer in their home. WE feel it is important to be transparent about origins of the product and also to support our customers in how to use the product. Our coding system will bring you back to all this information right from the kitchen counter. How do I cook this? What is it good with? The nutrition facts, storage facts and yes, the ability to reorder for curbside pick-up, all from the kitchen counter. Could they imitate? Of course. We are filing patents against our software and the use, but nothing stops another group from making something similar, just not exactly the same. I also know that is will take them about a year to catch up, so the cheaper and easier route is to license the software for the 'me too' effect.

Smart card is what I think you are talking about. Cards are great until your wallet is full of them. From a cost stand point there really is a very small cost associated with them and we can offer this in the program. I lean toward a smart phone app which will allow flow through purchasing without the need for lining up at the register. I still want to promote the human contact aspect. That is what I truly believe to be part of the Old World market, to know the customers and recognize them, interact with them, that goes a long way in making us feel comfortable in a retail environment.

Thank you Vanessa and hope we can see you in a store in the not too distant future. Michael

Photo of Vanessa Sore

Hi Michael,
Thanks for your detailed response. A very well thought through concept and something I feel the customer and ongoing sustainability is front of mind. All the best success!
Cheers, Vanessa

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