Austin company aims to become first package-free, zero-waste grocery store in nation

Austin company plans to open package-free, zero-waste grocery store before year’s end.

By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

ingredients_small_logo1 Austin, TX, June 2011: The Brothers Lane team announced its intention to open the first package-free, zero-waste grocery store in the U.S. this week. The store, named

in.gredients, will allow customers to bring their own reusable containers to fill with local and organic groceries ranging from dry bulk and dairy to wine and household cleaners.

Touting itself as the “next step” in fixing a variety of problems in today’s food industry, in.gredients promises to be an alternative to supermarket-style shopping, featuring local, organic food products, offering cooking classes and gardening activities on-site, and hosting a variety of community-oriented events geared toward promoting healthy living.

“Truth be told, what’s normal in the grocery business isn’t healthy for consumers or the environment,” in.gredients co-founder Christian Lane said. “In addition to the unhealthiness associated with common food processing, nearly all the food we buy in the grocery store is packaged, leaving us no choice but to continue buying packaged food that’s not always reusable or recyclable.

Our goal is to reduce waste and promote health by ditching packaged and overly processed food altogether – revolutionizing grocery shopping as we know it.”

The new store challenges typical supermarket behavior, claiming impulse buys, out-of- season produce, and a lack of concern for waste contribute to unhealthy eating and spending habits amongst consumers. in.gredients’ business model will counter these trends by encouraging portion control, seasonal eating, and the reduction of energy used to transport food from farms to customers.

“We care about the health of our customers and our local food economy,” Lane said.

“We’re prioritizing ‘reduce, reuse, then recycle’ and maximizing farmer revenue. We want this to be a fun and insightful experience for everyone, and hope this can springboard new ideas about how we can make grocery shopping even more sustainable.”

in.gredients is actively seeking investors and hopes to raise the funds it needs to begin

operations through its crowd-sourced campaign on

in.gredients is being started by Brothers Lane, LLC – a small Austin-based company owned by the Lane brothers (Christian, Patrick, and Joseph) and brother-in-spirit Christopher Pepe. The brothers have started and managed successful businesses ranging from software to sustainability.

Seasonal produce, grains, spices, baking ingredients, oils, coffees/teas, meats, dairy, beer, wine, and household cleaners. All products will be organic, all-natural, and sourced from local vendors when possible.

The Brothers Lane are very much creative and innovative guys with a passion for making things better and have disciplines rooted in process and technology (Praecipio Consulting) and the creative arts (Patrick Lane Photography).

Their interest in food and sustainability and drive to make things better is the force behind in.gredients and they actually do have retail and grocery store experience and bring all of their collective knowledge, experience and passion to build a real game-changing business.

The in.gredients model, however, used to be the way all shops operated not all that long ago – about 40 to 50 years ago e still had them and before that they were the way things were done. London has not just the one that so often gets mentioned but there is another store at Borough Market, the name011011 of which I do not have, that even gives people discount if they bring their own containers.

This is very much like the time when we still brought glass bottles back to be cleaned and reused – against the return of the deposit – and making pocket money in the process. That time also may be coming back and therefore why not stores that sell things loose and by the yard, etc.

Yes, shops like that are more labor intensive and need more staff as gods need to be weighed and measured but it is a way that we need to be getting back to if we want to reduce (packaging) waste in stores and at home.

All those prepackaged goods consumer vast amount of materials of one kind or the other that then has to be dealt with in the waste stream and if that waste can be don e away with it will be a total win-win situation.

© 2011