The store is called Nude Foods and it comes in the wake of a widespread condemnation of plastics, as large supermarkets in South Africa were over-packaging their goods and offering too many single-use plastics in the form of bags, straws and cutlery.
Although many large retailers in the city are committing to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the coming years, Nude Foods has already done away with it completely.
The quaint, inner-city grocery store is a throwback to a distant era, but with a modern health-store twist. Its primary focus is on health foods and a range of environmentally-friendly products. Consumers are expected to purchase glass bottles, jars or cotton bags in-store, and they are also encouraged to bring their own reusable containers.
Most items are sold by weight, and all food on sale is loose and available to purchase without packaging. It includes obvious health foods, like nuts, grains, herbs, pastas, granola and farm eggs, as well as some dairy products like yoghurt, with bi-weekly deliveries from their various suppliers, ensuring the food is fresh.
Other items on offer include kombucha on tap, various oils and vinegars, and other liquid food items like nut butters, which require consumers to fill up from the large receptacles. There are also environmentally-friendly household goods, such as soaps and washing powder.
The approach taken by Nude Foods is revolutionary in a country where most consumers are more familiar with extensively packaged items and purchase new plastic bags at the conclusion of each shop in order to transport the goods home. Although the new plastic-free store is small and caters to a niche market, it is an indication that many consumers are starting to push back against the widespread use of plastics.
The store is located in the eastern reaches of the Cape Town City Bowl, a region which has seen rapid redevelopment in recent years. Although some are critical of the gentrification of the area on the border with Cape Town’s District Six, there are several unique, new stores in the neighbourhood attracting new visitors, including an exclusive outdoors store, nut butter bar, bagel shop, bicycle store, and several popular coffee shops.
You can find Nude Foods at 5 Constitution Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town, and they are open until 6pm on weekdays and until 2pm on Saturdays. They’re closed on Sundays.