But what about a food? – Bag&Buy essay – by Nina van Dijk

We all contribute to the garbage problem. We throw a lot out on a daily basis. How can we contain this? Bag&Buy offers the answer! A packaging free supermarket. A supermarket when you can bring and fill your own containers. Does this actually work? No packaging, that’s the idea, but how do the products get delivered and supplied?

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I have looked at Bag& Buy from three different perspectives:

+ From environmental view I will look at the surrounding and nature. Without plastic waste there will be less garbage in households and also in the stores. Less packaging means less space, less trucks to transport the products, so less Carbondioxide emissions. There are no packages, so no more factories to make them which is also good for the environment.

+ If you look from the perspective for people there are some of the same points, like less garbage in the households. You can choose for yourself how much you want from something. You can buy a couple of cookies instead of a whole package, so less food waste. And when you’re not sure you even like the product, you won’t have to buy the whole product plus package. You can buy and it’s easier to choose, for example there is just one kind of cereal and not 20 different ones from different brands.

+ From an economical perspective. Less packaging means less space, so less trucks to transport the products, which makes the product cheaper. Less garbage in households, so less garbage trucks to pick it up, which makes it also cheaper! There is no packaging, so no more factories to make them, making it even cheaper!

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A lot of pro’s so far, but what about the food? I will compare Bag&Buy with the normal supermarket Albert Heijn and biological supermarket Marqt. Both Albert Heijn en Marqt say they are ‘biological’. Albert Heijn products line called ‘Puur & Eerlijk’, pure and honest. Research has shown that these products of Albert Heijn is not as ‘pure’, and also not as ‘fair’ as that Albert Heijn claims. Marqt claims that there products are ‘real’ and not ‘biological’. We can compare this to Bag&Buy. Marqt sells unknown brands and also not a lot of the same product. You can only pay with debit card at Marqt, as this is more environmentally conscious. Research has shown that Marqt is 15% more expensive than normal supermarkets. Are they actually eco friendly? Or is this just a publicity scam?

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There both say a lot of things, but what is real? And how is this at Bag&Buy?

I came to some conclusions from my interview with owner of the company, Wim van Dijk. It’s impossible not to use any packages, but Bag&Buy will recycle them everywhere they can. I also found out that not a lot of people will choose for Bag&Buy. There are a lot of things they don’t offer, like meat or fish. As a consumer you only have limited options to choose from, actually one. Wim told me that all the products are fresh and biological. But is this the truth? Bag&Buy buys all the products in a large amount so there will be less packages.This has to have aa influence on the food. Wim did not agree with that. When you buy a large amount of one product at once, there is a change you don’t sell it all in time before it’s expired or loose it’s freshness. This can lead to food waste when they have to throw the food away. A lot of products at Bag&Buy have a long expiring date. Like pasta or spices. These products won’t expire that quick, in comprising with other products they sell, like bread or vegetables.

Bag&Buy will start with one store in Utrecht. I came to some conclusions from my interview with Karen de Mos, who is a real fan of everything that is biological. Because Bag&Buy has a very limited assortment so they can’t satisfy everyone. We all have to go to other supermarkets to do all our groceries. We will go to the Albert Heijn and we will still waste packages. There won’t be a big difference with a Bag&Buy in town. Of course this doesn’t count for everyone. Like myself, I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t have to go to another supermarket to buy meat of fish. But I’m a big fan of Calvé peanutbutter, and they don’t sell that at Bag&Buy. I still have to go to another supermarket just to buy peanutbutter. Karen said: ‘I know myself, I wouldn’t go to more than one supermarket to do my groceries, and I think a lot of people will agree with me. I really want to eat healthy and I like the idea of Bag&Buy, but I don’t think it will work’. Of course you’ll have the real bio-lovers who will buy everything at Bag&Buy, but that is just a small group.

I really want to visit Bag&Buy, one time, but not every week. It’s a fun idea but would not fix the whole problem for waste and good food. They have to think of a solution that will be easier for everybody to put plastic waste to a minimum and buy healthy food.

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