Sustainability’ is a word on a lot of lips at the moment. And for good reason: with waste levels dangerously high around the world, our planet is paying the price – something we’re particularly reminded of every March on Clean Up Australia Day.
Fortunately, more and more individuals are now doing what they can to lead a more sustainable life. But striving for a completely zero-waste lifestyle isn’t easy. Most weekly grocery shops inevitably lead to waste in some form or another, even for those shopping with the best intentions.
That’s where a little store called The Source Bulk Foods can help. Tucked away in Marketown Shopping Centre, The Source has a zero-waste philosophy and a passion for healthy, unpackaged wholefoods.
Opened in December 2017, the store is owned and operated by Newcastle locals, Leanne and Greg Saunders. The pair were in search of a business opportunity for Leanne to run when, by chance, they stumbled across The Source.
“We had ourselves adopted a non-processed wholefood approach in our daily lives,” explains Leanne. “We had considered cafes and food businesses but didn’t really know where to start. Then I came across this beautiful store that
was The Source Bulk Foods! I walked in and was like a kid in a candy store – literally. I told my husband about it and said, ‘This is it – this is the business for me!’”
The Newcastle store is one of 47 locally owned and run franchises in the Source Bulk Foods family. The ideas behind the brand are simple: eat more healthily, shop more consciously, and approach waste more responsibly. Beginning as a family-run Byron Bay business back in 2010, The Source Bulk Foods has experienced huge growth since expanding to franchises in 2014, with stores now spread across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Step inside the Newcastle store, opposite Woolies at Marketown, and you’ll find yourself in a health foodie’s paradise. The neat rows of tubs and shelves are filled with over 350 bulk products, from nuts, seeds, flours, grains and beans to muesli, snack mixes and better-for-you sweet treats. Pantry staples like pasta, spices, herbs and oils are also available, as well as special ingredients that can be hard to find in your standard grocery shop. “We also offer a great range of products for customers looking for organic, Australian, gluten-free, paleo or vegan options,” adds Leanne.
Shoppers can purchase or bring along reusable containers and jars to fill with as much or as little of a product as they need. The store is, of course, completely plastic-bag-free, with a focus on generating as little waste as possible throughout the supply chain process.
Plus, you’ll not only be boosting your health and doing your bit for the environment when you visit The Source – you’ll also experience a friendly, ‘old-fashioned’ customer service experience every time you walk through the doors.
“I am a people person and love to get to know my customers and make them feel special when they walk in my store and return time and time again,” says Leanne. “I make an effort to get to know the names of my regular customers and welcome them to the store by name.”
So, how has the Newcastle community responded to The Source and its sustainable living philosophy over the past 14 months? Extremely well, according to Leanne.
“It is very rewarding to see Newcastle embrace the store and its concept, whether it be from the ‘buy just what you need’ angle, or the zero-waste, reduce, reuse and refill angle,” she explains, adding, “There is so much I love about running the store – from the wonderful team of girls that I work with to the variety of customers that come to our store every week.”
If you’re looking to make some changes in your eating and shopping habits, The Source Bulk Foods is a perfect place to start. Your body and the environment will thank you for it!