A bulk food store in Fitzroy is selling pantry staples, herbs and spices, nuts and seeds, and cleaning and personal products – all without single-use packaging.

Gram Sustainable, which opened around six months ago, is filled with recycled tubs and jars of products. It eschews the individual-product packaging you see in mainstream supermarkets in favour of a bulk-buy system. (Customers can bring their own vessels and containers to fill up, and the price is calculated by weight.)

Owner Marc Lacoste wanted to create an affordable alternative to similar, more expensive health-focused stores.

“[Most bulk stores] are bulk-slash-health-food stores, but we’re more bulk plus package-free and as Australian as possible,” he says. “We wanted to be [an option] for people who wanted to shop package-free but couldn’t afford it because the only places doing it were organic and health-food stores.”

Where possible, Lacoste uses Australian suppliers. You’ll find the basics – rice; pasta and flour (both with gluten-free options); sugar; and beans – as well as breakfast cereals, snacks, loose-leaf teas and spice blends. (Standout blends include Kentucky Fried Spice and Spicy Mexican Seasoning, both mixed in-house.)

Gram also stocks plant-based household-cleaning products and personal products, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, handwash, face wash, and body oil. There are also seven blends of 100 per cent essential oils (250 millilitres for $13.50).

On Gram’s blog you’ll find suggestions for easy lifestyle swaps to reduce your impact on the environment, eco-friendly cleaning tips and cooking ideas.

The fit-out is minimal, with a neutral colour palette. The cladding on the back wall was made entirely with unused materials repurposed from a building site, the timber is Australian, and the fixtures were made locally in Victoria.

Lacoste wanted to support the local economy and nearby farmers as much as possible, and reduce carbon emissions by not transporting products over long distances.

“We have dreams of helping reignite neighbourhood shopping and getting people out of large-format supermarkets and back to supporting local community businesses and vendors,” he says.

Gram Sustainable is open through Covid-19 lockdown. Usually customers are asked to bring their own jars and containers, but for public-health reasons, the store is providing paper bags (made from recycled materials) right now.

Gram Sustainable
Ground floor, 350 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Hours:
Mon to Sat 10am–5pm
Sun 12pm–4pm

gramsustainable.com.au