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Rethinking packaged foods with this trendy Berlin grocery store.

The revolution will be unpackaged.

Photo of Jen Riedel
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When I think about my brief history with food, I know immediately that I dissociate much faster with foods that are offered to me in plastic packaging. I don't relate to them, I also automatically tend to think they are unhealthy or there are things lurking on the ingredients list that are sure to be poison to my body. Things like added sugars, dies, syrups, and other 'evils'. 

When I go to a store with a bulk food section, I tend to perk up, I feel responsible for my buying decisions, connected, and willing to make the choices of how much I will take. I am paying by weight and wonder really how many macadamia nuts could I possibly eat.. The entire process mentally and psychologically shifts.

At Original Unverpackt in Berlin, the owners are revolutionizing how we purchase food by having everything in their store offered package free. You must either bring your own containers or choose containers there. You can take as much or as little as you like. I see this as a beacon of shining light because as the owners of OU say, shopping in this way means considerably less waste and less food is then thrown away. We, as the consumer, are presented with a new model for choosing foods other than fruits and vegetables. We can think a bit longer about how much pasta, nuts, beans, etc we really need. 

Visit them here:

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How might we spread this idea of eliminating packaging to more grocery chains? How might we change the connection or relationship that we have to prepackaged foods? How might we connect easier to the foods in our fridges and in our existing environments, especially if they are prepackaged or contain ingredients that we don't understand?

Tell us about your work experience:

Director of Operations at a med tech startup and Design Thinking Facilitator. Hopeful human centered designer focusing on Interaction and Service Design.

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Photo of Silvana Zaldivar

Hi Jen! I love this idea. We can see a similar concept happening with grocery bags. After living in San Francisco, and observing how most people bring their own reusable bags to the store or try to fit as much as possible into one purchased paper bag; coming back to El Salvador where everybody uses numerous new plastic bags every time they shop makes me wonder how much plastic will be saved when Latin America eventually adopts San Francisco's grocery bag culture. 

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