Saving on packaging waste, reducing transport pollution and cutting down on plastics – eco-conscious shopping can be good for your budget and the environment. Here are our favourite spots for bulk, zero-waste and eco-friendly groceries in London.
Bulk Foods, Chiswick and Battersea
A zero-waste shopping chain, Bulk Foods offers more than 450 bulk foods including organic wholefoods, cooking liquids and oils, healthy snacks and sustainable personal and household products. All products are plastic free and sourced locally, and customers are encouraged to bring their own refillable bags and bottles when shopping in-store. There are two London locations, in Chiswick and Battersea.
Bulk Market, Dalston
Zero-waste organic grocery Bulk Market started as a pop-up in Dalston before crowdfunding to open a permanent shop near Hackney Downs station. The package-free, local-source shop offers everything from grains, pulses, pastas, oats, seeds, nuts, spices and herbs to produce and pet supplies.
Vegan zero-waste store Hetu offers whole foods in bulk and sustainable reusable items without unnecessary packaging. Located in St John’s Hill, Wandsworth, there is a focus on local producers and organic offerings.
Harmless, Wood Green
Harmless is a vegan, zero-waste bulk shop in Wood Green stocking whole foods and staples including lentils, rice, pasta, oats, flours, nuts, seeds, grains, sugar, tea, coffee, household cleaning and hygiene items.
Earth Natural Foods, Kentish Town
Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town sells a range of organic, fair trade, vegan and vegetarian wholefoods and ecological household goods in plastic-free packaging. In addition, they sell fresh cakes, pastries and breads, takeaway hot foods and salads and local produce.
As Nature Intended, locations around the city
With six locations across the city, As Nature Intended stocks independent organic and natural foods body care and supplements, and ‘free from’/special diets products. While some of their products do come packaged in plastics, the store uses recycled plastic bags and “I’m green” Bags for Life made from at least 85% of the renewable raw material sugar cane.
Unpackaged at Planet Organic, locations around the city
Located in four Planet Organic locations around London, Unpackaged by Planet Organic lets customers buy loose products completely free from all packaging. Recycled paper bags are on hand, but customers are encouraged to bring their own containers for loose product. Specific availability differs from location to location, but includes a range of foods including organic wholefoods, cooking liquids and oils, healthy snacks and sustainable personal goods.
Wholefoods, locations around the city
With locations around the city, the Wholefoods Market chain offers a variety of natural and organic goods. The Kensington High Street flagship location offers organic coffee, popcorn, grains and rice as well as non-organic bulk spices, grains, oats dried fruits, nuts, seeds, flours, teas and superfoods. The Fulham and Richmond locations also have bulk offerings, while the other London outposts do not.
Mother Earth, north London locations
With three independent north London shops, Mother Earth sells healthy, ethical and organic offerings with a selection of bulk dry goods. The Newington Green location also houses a cafe serving salads, baked goods and sandwiches.
Naked Larder, Herne Hill
A food buying group for south Londoners, Naked Larder buys dry goods and eco-friendly cleaning products in bulk to minimise packaging and reduce. Members place their orders online and collect their goods using their own reusable containers at a prearranged time at the Herne Hill location.
Planet Organic, locations around the city
Britain’s biggest organic supermarket, Planet Organic has seven locations around London. Stocking organic wholefoods, cooking liquids and oils, healthy snacks and sustainable personal and household and beauty products, Planet Organic is a market leader in organic food. Several locations offer hot and cold food to go, including a juice and smoothie menu, a hot drinks cafe and at the end of every day Planet Organic donates all edible food to volunteers who redistribute it to the local community via OLIO, a food sharing app.
A 100% vegan supermarket, Greenbay in Hammersmith sources everything from vegan meats to a selection of over 90 dairy-free cheeses, fresh and dry food, drinks, vegan health and beauty, household and pet products. The online shop even offers carbon-neutral, next day delivery.
Words: Claire Lancaster