Last autumn an unusual store opened here in Berlin: Original Unverpackt (lit. “originally unpackaged”) is the city’s first supermarket to sell groceries without packaging and in bulk. OU’s founders Milena Glimbovski and Sara Wolf raised the money for their project via crowdfunding which ensured a lively debate in the German media about packaging waste, recycling and food wastage, long before the store even opened.
And when Original Unverpackt finally opened it doors on Wiener Strasse 16 in Kreuzberg, the store already had a fairly strong public profile. OU is charming, by the way, and absolutely worth a visit. You have to bring your own bottles, jars, bags or whatever; or you can purchase reusable packaging materials in the store. Fill your bags with the desired amount/number of groceries/items and get the whole thing weighed at the check-out till. Simple and very logical. And for Germany with its very competitive and traditional supermarket sector, this is a very unusual retail concept.
At the moment OU’s product portfolio is still limited to dried groceries (pulses, cereals, pasta and so on), liquids like oils and vinegars, fresh bread and products like spices and sweets. And although there are no milk products or fresh meat (for hygienic reasons, Germany has very strict food safety regulations), OU carries a good selection of cosmetics which are manufactured by Berlin-based fresh cosmetics producer CremeKampagne – another really interesting company, by the way.