I love supermarket shopping. Browsing the racks and checking out the variety of everything available.
So I was really intrigued when I was invited to UnPackt, a new packaging-free store, to experience a different kind of grocery shopping. The store is located in the Ang Mo Kio heartlands at Jalan Kuras and is a small outfit, almost like a neighbourhood provision shop, but neater, almost minimalist with open shelving and big jars of groceries on display instead of the usual plastic packaging you see on display in a typical supermarket.
How to shop
#1. Plan what you want to buy and bring your own containers from home, be it glass jars or reusable plastic containers.
#2. Weigh your empty containers at the counter and the store assistant will write the weight of them on the lid with an erasable pen.
#3. Go around the store and fill your containers with what you want to buy.
#4. Bring your filled containers back to the counter to be weighed and you will be charged for the item you’re buying by it’s set price by weight. Cash or NETS payments are both accepted.
If you have forgotten to bring your own containers or didn’t bring enough, the store also provides containers donated by neighbouring businesses.
What I loved about the shopping experience
UnPackt co-founders, Florence Tay, 36, and Jeff Lam, 38
With its minimalist provision shop vibe, UnPackt has a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere. The store assistants are usually the friendly co-owners and founders themselves, Florence and Jeff. The assortment of grains, pastas, biscuits, legumes, cooking oils and seasonings, loose-leaf teas, honey, dried fruit and even superfood powders are obviously fresh (you can see everything in the display containers) and mostly organic where available. The store’s founders also endeavour to source for these from bulk-purchase local social enterprises to further minimise the carbon footprint.
You can buy as much or as little as you need. Cooking pasta for one? You can literally buy a single portion of organic linguini if you so desire. Want to sample the new floral honey? You can buy a small jar’s worth for less than $5. Feeling peckish and just want a handful of pistachios? You can buy just the amount you need to satisfy your cravings for a couple of bucks. Cheaper than a slightly bigger packet from Tong Garden or Camel. Goodbye, unused expired food waste!
Lifestyle good like soaps, lotion bars, bamboo toothbrushes and reusable makeup remover towels are also stocked at UnPackt
What’s more, alongside these foodstuff, there’s also an assortment of eco-friendly lifestyle goods, such as bamboo kitchenware, reusable straws and makeup remover towels, and organic toothpaste, lotion bars and soaps, making your eco-friendly shopping experience complete. Having enjoyed the guilt-free and very personal shopping experience at UnPackt, I am totally on board with the whole packaging-free grocery shopping trend. Here’s hoping the store will expand into a chain so the experience is more widely available across Singapore, and also, expand in its range of products available too so I can go there for all my grocery needs.
UnPackt is at 6 Jalan Kuras, Singapore 577724 and opens 7 days a week from 9am to 8pm.