Okay, I admit it. I have a weakness for specialty grocery stores. In fact, I would wager that grocery shopping has changed for most of us – or at least in areas with many options. For example, I never grocery shop with a list of items that I need. At the most, I’ll look up a recipe on my phone in the store, but many times I just browse for items that are calling my name or happen to be in season. The good thing is that this approach to grocery shopping makes it more of a fun activity and less of a chore. The bad thing? It’s not always a zippy outing, but I don’t notice if I’m browsing fun new items or uncovering the latest craze.
Other than my opinions, grocery shopping habits, and patterns I tend to notice in the grocery procurement tendencies of others, there’s concrete proof that shopping for food in Austin is changing. The long-awaited opening of our first package-free grocery store, in.gredients, happened last weekend and I was excited to visit during their unofficial opening, called Neighborhood Night. They later announced that their first official day was the following day.
I wrote a blog post on my company blog for LocalizeAustin with details from their team after I interviewed them and took a tour of the gutted space in October. At the time, it was part of a dream that was partially made possible by the incredibly positive crowdfunding results from their campaign on indiegogo that served just as much as a source of raising $15,000 as it did proof that their concept was valuable to our community. Check out the produce, dairy, and meat refrigerator case in the space-efficient east Austin renovated home. Produce on the shelves this past weekend were labeled with their local sources like Johnson’s Backyard Garden and fish is even sourced from local Quality Seafood.
Don’t forget, when you visit in.gredients, you’ll need to bring your own containers or purchase mason jars or holders for your goodies. The tare scale (shown in main photo of this post) is where you’ll weigh your container in exchange for a printed sticker with a bar code and a QR code that you’ll adhere to the container. When your items are scanned at checkout, the container weight will automatically deduct the weight (and thus, the price) since price is based on weight in this bulk-style shopping experience. The QR code will later be used to track customer purchase history and serve as consumer research that will be invaluable. (Love this digital touch – but hey, I’m a nerd about stuff like this.)
And so, my friend Emily and I savored our first visit to in.gredients with a glass of white wine on tap (not from a bottle – thus containter-less) and a peach empanada from mmmpanadas food trailer on the front patio of the shop. *Note, you can purchase or bring a growler to fill up with the wine/beer on tap and take home to enjoy to reduce your bottle consumption.
There was a live band playing on the patio, kids and adults of all ages, and a positive vibe – the perfect addition to the East Austin neighborhood that will surely unite locals when in need of a jar of honey or a healthy place to weigh on a scale.
Check out in.gredients and don’t forget to bring your containers to pick up some goodies while you’re there! Visit this Saturday, August 11th at 7 p.m. to hear my family friend, Aaron Goldfarb, play instrumental Jazz on the porch! Hours: Every day 8am-10pm.