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Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Gareth Hubbard

Bianca Kasselman aims to encourage conscious consumption with her new plastic-free grocery in Bergvliet. Selling pantry staples loose – bring your own containers and jars – as well as fresh bread, home-made preserves and organic fruit and vegetables, it’s a one-stop shop for the eco-aware consumer. She tells us more about Unpacked Pantry.

How did your business start?

Growing up on the coast I have a big love for the ocean. Seeing how single-use plastic pollution affected our beaches really hit home and my fiancé and I tried to cut down on our plastic use, but we found it really difficult due to lack of options around. I needed a space where I could get my essentials without plastic packaging and at an affordable rate. So it started online, with the support of other like-minded people – especially the two families who started Better Earth Cleaning products. It grew to a point that I could open up a small shop space.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

The Bergvliet area is home to young families and elderly people, many of whom are not really aware of the plastic pollution problem, because they don’t have the connection to the ocean. They are only a 15-minute drive away from the beach, but they don’t see it daily. I want to inspire and educate, show people that there is an alternative option that is just as convenient as your big supermarket chains.

How did you find your premises?

I was approached by the Harding family who own Restorabilia and The Backyard Cafe, and they offered to build our little shop on their premises.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

Backyard Cafe is a hidden gem tucked away just off Main Road, literally in the back yard of the furniture restoration shop Restorabilia. There are trees and it’s easy to park outside. Being inside the Backyard Cafe’s garden, we get a lot of foot traffic from their clientele, and therefore get to share our story with more people.

How many people visit your business each day?

About 30 to 40.

Do you have any expansion plans?

Only to be able to set up small pop-up shops in rural areas where I think the demand is vital.

Do you operate online as well?

Not at the moment. I love interacting with people and encourage them to pop in and have a conversation. We found that, when it comes to food, people would like to see their food, and have a choice that they can make right there and then – no need to plan a week ahead. We do have, however, a Facebook page (@unpackedpantry) and Instagram account (@unpacked_pantry).

What’s your most popular item?

Our tiffin tins. A life-long product made from stainless steel, which takes away the need for single-use packaging altogether when you’re packing lunches, and it’s great for picnics and take-aways.

Unpacked Pantry
079 829 4119

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