Dear customers and supporters of Plastic Free Pantry,
We’ve decided to embark on a change of direction.
It’s been 2 years since the walk on the beach that kick started Plastic Free Pantry. Back then there were few places to buy food without plastic packaging and so I decided to start an online shop. If we had this problem, I thought, others must too. And you really did! Just 2 weeks after launching I was surrounded by boxes in my living room and crying to my husband about how I felt like I’d never get all these orders out and I was going to let everybody down. Shortly afterwards I moved the business out of the living room in to a small rented space. I slowly started to increase the range and I became we as the team became 2, then 3. Then we needed a bigger space as we were tripping over each other and the sacks of produce, so we moved here to our bright space just a short walk from my home, and the team grew to 5. We’ve gone from 13 products to over 200.
However things have changed significantly since we first started out. There are now zero waste shops popping up all over the country. I’m not interested in competing with them; buying locally and with your own packaging is absolutely the best way to go if you’re able to do that. I’d rather support them in finding plastic-free goods.
Project pasta changed things for us.
We stopped selling pasta a few months ago because the best we could find was 5kg catering packs in plastic packaging. We tried and could not find an alternative. Well we briefly did but they couldn’t supply enough to meet our needs. Cutting out our biggest seller was a huge risk for us, and we took a significant financial hit.
When we ordered our machine and embarked on this wild idea of making our own pasta, we were again just trying to solve our own problem. But we found that lots of people have this problem.
So, we’ve decided to refocus our priorities on making our own goods rather than buying in bulk and repacking. We want to create products which are designed to be plastic-free and low impact from the very beginning. This is how we started out with our coffee roastery Roasting House, and so we’re returning to our producer roots.
Right now Plastic Free Pantry is incredibly resource heavy. Refocusing on creating our own products allows us to simplify. It will allow us to support other zero waste shops through creating truly plastic-free products that they are struggling to source rather than compete with them. Obviously we’ll start with coffee and pasta as we’re already doing them, but then…who knows?
It’s risky of course. I know that so many of you who shop with us regularly will be disappointed, and the reason that people shop with us is because of our wide range. But continuing to operate in that way isn’t really sustainable for us.
So, as products go out of stock we won’t be replacing them. Once we’ve finished our pasta pre-orders, we’ll start to produce for general sale and working with all of the amazing zero waste shops who’ve been incredibly excited about our pasta to help get it out in to the world. We’ll also be putting much more of our resources into our coffee roastery which has been somewhat neglected since we started Plastic Free Pantry.
This is a big scary change, but it very much feels like the right one for us as a business and for me as a person. This may seem sudden, but for us it’s been a long time coming.
Thank you so much for your support so far in this journey.
Director of Plastic Free Pantry