We live in an interesting world indeed! While the developed world is consistently on the look-out for new concepts, driven by the need to be more eco-responsible and eco-sustainable. Translating into organic produce, organic living, reduce plastic, recyle everything, back to basics. And essentially adopting – to a significant degree – all things Eastern (read: the Developing World. I choose not to compartmentalize it into Asia, Africa, or South America, but view it as a whole). This also relates to the growth of Yoga, Alternative Healing, Traditional Herbs, Non-Chemical approach, Seeking Yin & Yang Balance, etc.
Fresh produce, displayed as nature intended!
Simple retail language, traditional white chalk on blackboards.
What’s ironic is that the rest of the world, that’s playing catch-up with what they see as “the modern approach”, food retail landscape is fast-changing from the traditional (read: organic, “real green” packaging, non-chemical) to the very retail concept of “modern” (read: TV-dinners, microwaveable food, fast food, plastic packaging, etc).
So what comes as a breath of fresh air in Food Retail, via the opening of “Unpackaged“, a London-based food retailer that is built on the premise of “as close to natural as possible”, where shoppers come with their own bags and containers and buy everything “unpackaged”, and everything is weighed and plastic bags are visibly absent. Sounds like a traditional wet market in Asia, Africa or Latin America to me! And these are – sadly – a dying breed!
It wasn’t long ago – in Asia – where salt was sold in blocks, and teas were all loose leaf in brown paper packaging, and grain and rice was sold based on weight. This was the original bio-degradable as nature intended! This was an era where recylcing came natural, because so much of it was made directly from the earth, where plastic was an alien concept!
Well… c’est la vie. Let’s hope the catch-up game that the developing world is playing will reduce its speed, with an increased awareness of “being kind to the planet and her inhabitants”, a message that is spreading fast via the internet, and all things mobile. Let’s hope!
In the mean time, here’s a look at “Unpackaged” in London. A very successful retail concept that’s creating all the right (green) buzz in London, and garnering accolades along the way!
Bring your own container, choose your grain. They weigh, you pay. Simplicity is the key.
Scene from inside Unpackaged store.
Scenes of traditional markets in Java and Bali (Indonesia).
The world-famous traditional floating markets of Bangkok, Thailand.
Traditional markets in Bamako (Mali), Hurghada (Egypt), and Taiwan.
Traditional markets in Sucre (Bolivia), and Calcutta (India).
Traditional market in Orissa, India.